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DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



DEBIT AND CREDIT 



CransIatciJ fram tht German of (Lnistab #ircDtag 

BY LC.C. 



WITH A PREFACE 

BY CHKISTIAN CHARLES JOSIAS BUNSEN 

D.D., D.C.L., D.PH. 



VOL II. 



EDINBURGH: THOMAS CONSTABLE AND CO. 
HAMILTON, ADAMS, AND CO., LONDON. 

MDCCCLVII. 



EDISBl'RGU: T. CONSTABLE, TRINTER TO HER MAJESTT. 



CHAPTER 1. 



AN a cold October day, two men were seen driving 
through the latticed gate of the town of Rosmin on 
towards the plain, which stretched out before them mono- 
tonous and boundless. Anton sat wrapped in his fur coat, 
his hat low on his forehead, and at his side was young 
Sturm, in an old cavalry cloak, with his soldier's cap cocked 
cheerily on one side. In front of them a farm-servant, 
squatted on a heap of straw, flogged on the small horses. 
The wind swept the sand and straw from the stubble-fields, 
the road was a broad causeway, without ditches or hedges, 
the horses had to wade alternately through puddles and 
deep sand. Yellow sand gleamed through the scanty her- 
bage in all directions, wherever a field-mouse had made 
her way to her nest, or an active mole had done what he 
could to diversify the unbroken plain. Wherever the ground 
sank, stagnant water lodged, and there hollow willow-trees 
stretched then- crippled arms in the air, their boughs flap- 
ping in the wind, and their faded leaves fluttering down into 

VOL. II. A 



2 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



the muddy pool below. Here and there stood a small dwarf 
pine, a resting-place for the crows, who, scared by the pass- 
ing carriage, flew loudly croaking over the travellers' heads. 
There was no house to be seen on the road, no pedestrian, 
and no conveyance of any kind. 

Karl looked every now and then at his silent companion, 
and said at last, pointing to the horses — " How rough their 
coats are, and how pretty their greymouse skins ! I 
wonder how many of these beasties would go to make up 
my sergeant's horse ! When I took leave of my father, the 
old man said, ' Perhaps I shall pay you a visit, little one, 
when they light the Christmas-tree.' 'You'll never be 
able,' said I. 'Why not?' asked he. 'You'll never trust 
yourself in any post-chaise.' Then the old boy cried, ' Oho ! 
post-chaises are always of a stout build, I shall be sure to 
trust myself in one.' But now, Mr. Anton, I see that my 
father never can pay us a visit." 

"Why not?" 

" It is possible that he may reach Rosmin. But as soon 
as he sees these horses and this road, he will instantly turn 
back. ' Shall I trust myself,' he'll say, ' in a district where 
sand runs between one's legs like water, and where mice 
are put into harness ? The ground is not firm enough 
for me.'" 

" The horses are not the worst thing here," said Anton 
absently. " Look, these go fast enough." 

" Yes," replied Karl ; " but they don't go like regular 
horses, they entangle their legs like two cats playing in a 
parsley-bed. And what things they have for shoes — 
regular webbed -hoofs, I declare — which no blacksmith can 
ever fit." 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



3 



" If we could only get on," returned Anton ; " tlie wind 
blows cold, and I am shivering in spite of my fur." 

" You have slept but little the last few nights, sir," said 
Karl. " The wind blows here as if over a tlueshing-floor. 
The earth is not round hereabouts as elsewhere, but flat as a 
cake. This is a complete desert ; we have been driving for 
more than an hour, and there is not a village to be seen." 

" A desert indeed," sighed Anton ; " let us hope it may 
improve." They relapsed, into profound silence. At 
length the driver stopped near a pool, unharnessed the 
horses, and led them to the water's edge, without noticing 
the travellers. 

"What the deuce does this mean ?" cried Karl, jumping 
down from the carriage. 

" I am going to feed," replied the servant sulkily, in a 
foreign accent. 

"I am anxious to know how that will be done," said 
Karl. " There is not the shadow of a bag of provender." 

The horses, however, soon proved that they could live 
without com ; they stretched down their shaggy heads, 
and began to pull the grass and weeds at the edge of the 
pool, sometimes taking a draught of the dii'ty water. 
Meanwhile, the servant drew a bundle from under his seat, 
settled himself under the lee of an alder-bush, and taking 
his knife, cut his bread and cheese without even glancing at 
the travellers. 

" I say, Ignatius or Jacob," cried Karl sharply, " how 
long will this breakfast of yours last ?" 

" An hour," replied the man, munching away. 
" And how far is it from here to the estate 1 " 
" Six miles, or maybe more." 



4 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



" You can make nothing of him," said Anton ; " we 
must put up with the customs of the country." And leaving 
the carriage, they went to look on at the horses feeding. 

Anton is on his way to the Polish property. He is now 
the Baron's agent. Anxious months have the last proved 
to him. The parting from his principal and the firm had 
been painful in the extreme. For some time before it, 
indeed, Anton had found himself alone in the midst of his 
colleagues. The quiet Baumann still remained his friend, 
but the others considered him a castaway. The merchant 
received his resignation with icy coldness ; and even in the 
hour of parting, his hand lay impassive as metal in Anton's 
grasp. Since then, our hero had undertaken several jour- 
neys to the capital and to creditors, in the family's behalf, 
and now he was on his way to set the new estate in order, 
accompanied by Karl, whom he had induced to become the 
Baron's bailiff. 

Ehrenthal had, by the authority conferred on him, taken 
possession of the property from the time of the sale by 
auction, and hired the Polish bailiff for the Baron. There 
had been unfair dealings between them at the time ; and it 
was well known in Rosmin, that the bailiff had sold off a 
good deal, and been guilty of all sorts of frauds since. So 
that Anton had even now no prospect of a quiet life. 

"The hour is come when I may execute my com- 
mission," cried Karl, groping in the straw under the seat. 
He drew out a large japanned tin case, and carried it to 
Anton. " Miss Sabine gave me this in charge for you." 
He then joyously opened the lid, produced the materials for 
an excellent breakfast, a bottle of wine, and a silver goblet. 
Anton took hold of the case. 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



5 



" It has a very knowing look," said Karl. " Miss 
Sabine planned it herself." 

Anton examined it on all sides, and placed it carefully on 
a tuft of grass ; then he took up the goblet, and saw his 
initials engraved on it, and underneath the words — "To 
thy welfare ! " Whereupon he forgot the breakfast and 
all around him, and stood gazing at the goblet, lost in 
thought. 

" Do not forget the breakfast, sir," suggested Karl 
respectfully. 

" Sit down by me, my faithful friend, eat and drink with 
me. Leave off your absurd politeness. We shall have but 
little either of us, but what we have, we will share like 
brothers. Take the bottle if you have no glass." 

" There's nothing like leather," said Karl, taking a small 
leathern diinking-cup out of his pocket. "As for what 
you have just said, it was kindly meant, and I thank you. 
But there must be subordination, if it were but for the 
sake of the others ; and so, sir, be kind enough to let me 
shake hands with you now, and then let things be as they 
were before. Only look at the horses, Mr. Anton. My 
faith ! the creatures devour thistles ! " 

Again the horses were harnessed, again they threw out 
their short legs in the sand, and again the carriage rolled 
through the barren district. First through an empty plain, 
next through a wretched fir-wood, then past a row of low 
sand-hills, then over a tumble-down bridge crossing a small 
stream. 

" This is the property," said the driver, turning round, 
and pointing with his whip to a row of dirty thatched roofs 
that had just come into sight. 



6 



DEBIT AND CKEDIT. 



Anton stood up to look for the group of trees in which 
the Hall might be supposed to stand. Nothing of the sort 
to be seen. The village was deficient in all that adorns 
the home of the poorest German peasant. No orchard, 
no hedged-in gardens, no lime-trees in the market-place ! 

" This is wretched," said he sitting down again ; " much 
worse than they told us in Rosmin." 

" The village looks as if under a curse," cried Karl ; 
" no teams working in the fields — not a cow or a sheep to 
be seen." 

The farm-servant flogged his horses into an irregular 
gallop, and so they passed through the rows of mud-huts 
which constituted the village, and arrived at the public-house. 
Kfirl sprang from the carriage, opened the tavern door 
and called for the landlord. A Jew slowly rose from his 
seat by the stove, and came to the threshold. " Is the 
gendarme from Rosmin come ?" He is gone into the 
village. " Which is the way to the farm-j'-ard ? " 

The landlord, an elderly man with an intelligent counte- 
nance, described the way in German and Polish, and re- 
mained standing at the door — bewildered, Karl declared, by 
the sight of two human beings. The carriage turned into 
a cross-road, planted on both sides with thick bushes, the 
remains of a fallen avenue. Over holes, stones, and puddles, 
it rattled on to a group of mud-huts, which still had a 
remnant of white- wash upon them. "The bams and 
stables are empty," cried Karl, " for I see gaps in the roofs 
large enough to diive our carriage through." 

Anton said no more, he was prepared for everything. 
They drove through a break between the stables into the 
farm-yard, a large irregular space, surrounded on three 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



7 



sides by tumble-down buildings, and open to the fields on 
the fourth. A heap of debris lay there ; lime and rotten 
timber, the remains of a ruined barn. The yard was 
empty, no trace of farm implements or human labour to be 
seen. "Which is the inspector's housed' inquired Anton 
in dismay. The driver looked round, and at last made up 
his mind that it was a small one-storied building, with a 
straw thatch and dirty windows. 

At the noise of the wheels a man appeared on the thresh- 
old, and waited phlegmatically till the travellers had dis- 
mounted, and were standing close before him. He was a 
broad-shouldered fellow, with a bloated, brandy-drinking 
face, dressed in a jacket of shaggy cloth, while behind him 
peered the muzzle of an equally shaggy dog, who snarled at 
the strangers. " Are you the steward of this property?" 

" I am," replied the man in broken German, without 
stirring from where he was. 

" And I am the agent of the new proprietor," said 
Anton, 

" That does not concern me," growled the shaggy man, 
turning sharp round, entering the house, and bolting the 
door within. 

Anton was thoroughly roused. " Break the' window in, 
and help me to catch the rascal," cried he to Karl, who 
coolly seized a piece of wood, struck the panes so as to make 
the rotten framework give way, and cleared the opening at 
one leap. Anton followed him. The room was empty, so 
was the next, and in it an open window — the man was gone. 

" After him !" cried Karl, and dashed on in pursuit while 
Anton looked about the house and out-buildings. He soon 
heard the barking of a dog, and saw Karl capture the 



8 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



fugitive. Hurrying to his help he held the man fast, while, 
with a kick, Karl sent the dog flying. They then con- 
trived to force the steward back to the house, though he 
kept striking out violently all the way. 

"Go to the tavern and bring the gendarme and the 
landlord," cried Anton to the driver, who, undisturbed by 
all that had been going on, had meanwhile unpacked the 
carriage. The man accordingly drove leisurely off, and the 
fugitive being got into the room, Karl found an old cloth, 
and with it bound his hands behind his back. " I beg 
your pardon, sir," said he, " it is only for an hour or 
so, till the arrival of the Rosmin gendarme, whom we have 
appointed to meet us." 

Anton then proceeded to examine the house, but there 
was nothing to be found but the merest necessaries, no 
books nor papers of any kind. It had doubtless been 
emptied already. A bundle projected from the coat-pocket 
of the prisoner, which turned out to be receipts and legal 
documents in Polish. In time, the driver returned with the 
landlord and the armed policeman. The landlord stood at 
the door in some perplexity, and the policeman explained 
in a few words what remained to be done. " You must 
make a statement to the local judge, and give the man up 
to me. He shall go back in your carriage to Rosmin. You 
will do well to get rid of him, for this is a wild country, and 
it will be safer for you to have him at Rosmin than here 
where he has friends and accomplices." 

After a long search, a sheet of paper was found in a 
cupboard, the statement made and submitted to the police- 
man, who shook his head a little over the Polish composi- 
tion, and the prisoner lifted into the carriage, the gen- 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



9 



darme taking bis seat beside him, and saying to Anton : 
" I have long expected something of the kind. You may 
often have occasion to want me again." The carriage then 
drove away, and thus the property came under Anton's 
administration. He felt as if cast on a desert island. 

His portmanteau and travelling effects were leaning 
against a mud-wall, and the Polish landlord was the only 
man who could give him and Karl any information or advice 
in their forlorn condition. 

Now that the steward was fairly gone, the landlord 
grew more communicative, and showed himself serviceable 
and obliging. A long conversation ensued, and its purport 
was what Anton had apprehended from the warning given 
by the Commissary Walter, and other Eosmin officials. 
The inspector had, during the last few weeks, done all he 
could in the way of spoliation, rendered daring by a report 
which had found its way from the town to the village, that 
the present proprietor would never be able to take posses- 
sion of the estate. At last Anton said : " What that 
wretched man has done away with he will have to account 
for ; our first care must be to preserve what is still to be 
found on the property. You must be our guide to-day." 

They then examined the empty buildings. Four horses 
and two servants — they were gone into the wood — a few 
old ploughs, a pair of harrows, two wagons, a britschka, a 
cellar full of potatoes, a few bundles of hay, a little straw 
— the inventory did not take much time in drawing up ! 
The buildings were all out of repair, not through age, but 
neglect. 

" Where is the dwelling-house 1 " inquired Anton. The 
landlord led the way out of the yard to the meadow — a broad 



10 



DEBIT AND CEEDIT. 



plain, gradually sloping down to the level of the brook. 
It had been a great pasture. The cattle had trodden 
it down into holes — the snouts of greedy swine had rooted 
it up, grey mole-hills and rank tufts of grass rose on all 
sides. 

The landlord stretched out his hand. " There is the 
castle. This castle is famous throughout the whole country," 
he added reverentially ; " no nobleman in the district has 
a stone house like that. All the gentry here live in wood 
and mud buildings. Herr von Tarow, the richest of them, 
has but a poor dwelling." 

About three hundred yards from the last out-building 
rose a great brick edifice, with a black slate roof, and a 
thick round tower. Its gloomy walls on this treeless pas- 
ture-land, without one trace of life around, rose beneath 
the cloudy sky like a phantom fortress which some evil 
spirit had evoked from the abyss — a station from which to 
blight all the surrounding landscape. 

The strangers approached it. The castle had fallen into 
ruins before the builders had finished their task. The 
tower had stood there for ages. It was built of unhewn 
stone, and liad small windows and loop-holes. The former 
lords of the land had looked down from its summit on the 
tops of the trees, which then stretched far into the plain. 
They had then ruled with a rod of iron the serfs who culti- 
vated their land, and toiled and died for them. Many an 
arrow had sped through those loop-holes at the enemy 
storming from below, and many a Tartar horse had been 
overthrown before those massive walls. Years ago, a despot 
of the district had, in expiation of former sins, begun to 
add to the grey tower the walls of a holy monastery. But 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



11 



the monastery never got finished, and the useless walls had 
already stood there long, when the late Count took it into 
his head to convert them into a lordly dwelling for his race, 
and to raise a house unparalleled for magnij&cence in the 
whole country. 

The front of the house was added on to both sides of 
the tower, which projected in the middle. The intention 
had been to have a high terrace-road up to the castle ; and 
the principal entrance had been made in the tower, and 
arched over ; but the terrace never having been formed, the 
stone threshold of the main door was quite inaccessible 
without the help of ladders, and the wide opening was 
left. The window-spaces of the lower floor were merely 
closed up with boards, while on the second storey were some 
window-frames of beautifully carved wood, in which large 
panes had once been placed, but they had got broken. In 
other windows were temporary frames of rough deal, with 
small panes of muddy glass let into them. A company of 
jackdaws sat on the top of the tower, looking down in 
amazement on the strangers, and every now and then one 
flew off", screaming loudly, to contemplate the intruders 
from a new point of view. 

" A house for crows and bats, not for human beings," 
said Anton. " At least I see no way of getting into it." 

The landlord now took them round the building. Behind, 
where the two vrings made a sort of horse-shoe, there were 
low entrances to the cellars and offices ; beneath which 
again were stables, great arched kitchens and small cells 
for the serfs. A wooden staircase led to the upper storey. 
The door turned creaking on its hinges; and a narrow pas- 
sage took them through a side wing to the front part of 



12 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



the house. There all was at least magnificently planned. 
The circular entrance hall — an arched room of the old 
tower — was painted in mosaic ; and through the great 
doorway-opening was seen a wide expanse of country. A 
broad staircase, worthy of a palace, led up to another round 
hall, with narrow windows, the second storey of the tower. 
On each side lay suites of apartments : large, lofty, 
desolate rooms, with heavy oak folding-doors, and dirty 
plastered walls ; the ceiling made of fir branches arranged 
in squares. In some rooms colossal green tile stoves, in 
other rooms iio stoves at all. In some, beautiful inlaid 
floors, in others rude deal-boards. An immense saloon, 
with two gigantic chimney-pieces, had merely a provisional 
ceiling of old lathes. The castle was fitted for a wild 
Asiatic household, for hangings of leather and of silk 
from France, for costly woodwork from England, for mas- 
sive silver services from German mines, for a proud 
master, numerous guests, and a troop of retainers to fill 
the halls and ante-rooms. The builder of the castle had 
looked back to the wealth of his wild ancestors when 
he devised the plan ; he had had hundreds of trees cut 
down in his woods, and his hereditary bondsmen had 
kneaded many thousand bricks with their own hands and 
feet ; but Time, the inexorable, had raised his finger against 
him, and none of his hopes had been realized. His ruin 
first, and then his death, occurred during the progress of 
the building; and his son, brought up among strangers, 
had, as fast as one fool could, hurried on the ruin of his 
house. Now the walls of the Slavonic castle stood with 
doors and windows gaping wide : but no guest spoke his 
good wishes as he entered ; only wild birds flew in and out, 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



13 



and the marten crept over the floors. Useless and unsightly 
the walls stood there, threatening to crumble and fall, like 
the race that had raised them up. 

Anton passed with rapid step from room to room, vainly 
hoping to find one in which he could even imagine the two 
ladies, who were looking forward to this house as their 
asylum. He opened door after door, went up and down 
creaking steps, disturbed the birds who had flown in through 
the open archway, and still clung to their last summer's 
nest; but he found nothing save uninhabitable rooms, with 
dirty plastered walls, or without any plaster at all. Every- 
where draughts, gaping doors, and windows boarded up. 
Some oats had been shaken out in the large saloon ; and a 
few rooms looked as if they might have been temporarily 
made use of, but a few old chairs and a rude table were all 
the furniture they contained. 

At length Anton ascended the decayed staircase in the 
tower, and foimd himself on its summit. Thence he saw 
the whole pile of building below him, and looked far into 
the plain. To his left, the sun sank down behind grey 
masses of cloud into the depths of the forest ; to his right, 
lay the irregular square of the farmyard, and beyond it the 
untidy village; behind him ran the brook, with a strip of 
meadow-land on either side. Wild pear-trees, the delight 
of the Polish farmer, rose here and there in the fields, with 
their thick and branching crowns ; and under each was an 
oasis of grass and bushes, gaily coloured by the fallen leaves. 
These trees, the dwelling-places of countless birds, alone 
broke the monotonous surface of the plain — these, and at 
the verge of the horizon, on all sides, the dark forest men- 
tioned above. The sky was grey, the ground colourless, 



u 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



the trees and bushes that bordered the brook were bare, and 
the forest, with its promontories and bays, looked like a 
wall that separated this spot of earth from the rest of 
humanity, from civilisation, from every joy and charm of 
life! 

Anton's heart sank. " Poor Lenore ! poor family !" he 
groaned aloud ; " things look terrible, but they could be 
improved. With money and taste everything is possible. 
This house might, without prodigious expense, be metamor- 
phosed by the upholsterer into a gorgeous residence. It 
would be easy to level the pasture land around — to sow it 
with fine grass — to intersperse it with a few gaily-coloured 
flower-beds — and to plant out the village. Nothing is 
wanting to change the whole face of the district, but capital, 
industry, and judgment. But how is the Baron to procure 
these 1 To make anything of this place should be the task 
of some fresh and active life, and the Baron is broken 
down ; and thousands of dollars would be needed, and 
years would pass away before the soil would do more than 
pay the expenses of its culture, or yield any interest what- 
ever on the capital sunk in it." 

Meanwhile Karl was contemplating two particular rooms 
in the upper storey with a knowing eye. " These take my 
fancy more than any of the others," said he to the land- 
lord j " they have plastered walls, floors, stoves — nay, 
even windows. To be sure the panes are a good deal 
broken, but, till we can get glass, paper is not to be de- 
spised. We will settle ourselves here. Could you get me 
somebody who knows how to handle a broom and scrubbing- 
cloth ? Good, you can ; and now listen, try to bring me a 
few sheets of paper — I have got glue with me — we will 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



15 



first get some wood, then I will heat the stove, melt my 
glue, and paper up broken panes. But above all, help me 
to carry up our luggage from the yard — and let us be 
quick about it." 

His zeal communicated itself to the landlord ; the lug- 
gage was got up-stairs ; Karl unpacked a case full of tools 
of every kind ; and the host ran to call his maid from the 
public-house. 

Meanwhile horses' hoofs rang on the court-yard, and 
some well-dressed men stopped before the late steward's 
dwelling, and knocked loudly at the closed door. At a 
call from Anton, Karl hurried up to them. 

" Good morning," said one, in rather laboured German, 
"is the steward at home V 

" Where is the steward 1 — where is Bratzky V cried the 
others, impatient as their prancing horses. 

" If you mean the former steward," replied Karl drily, 
" he will not run away from you though you do not find 
him here." 

" What do you mean '?" inquired the nearest horseman ; 
" I beg that you will explain yourself" 

" If you wish to speak to Mr. Bratzky, you must take 
the trouble of riding to the town. He is in custody." 

The horses reared, and their riders closed round Karl, 
while Polish ejaculations were heard on all sides. "In 
custody ! On what account V 

" Ask my master," replied Karl, pointing to the door- 
way in the tower, where Anton stood. 

" Have I the pleasure of speaking to the new proprietor ?" 
inquired one of the party, taking off his hat. Anton looked 
down in amazement. The voice and face reminded him of 



16 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



a wliite-gloved gentleman whom he had met once before in 
a critical hour. 

" I am the Baron Rothsattel's agent," replied he. The 
horse was pulled back, and the rider spoke a few words to 
his companions, upon which an older man with a fox-like 
face cried, " We are anxious to speak on private business 
with the late steward. We hear that he is in custody, and 
beg you Avill tell us why." 

" He tried to evade by flight the surrender of the pro- 
perty to me, and he is suspected of dishonest dealings," 

" Are his effects confiscated f asked one of the riders. 

" Why do you inquire ?" returned Anton. 

" I beg your pardon," said the other, " but the man 
happens accidentally to have some papers that belong to 
me in his house, and it might embarrass me if I could not 
get possession of them." 

" His effects are gone with him to town," replied Anton. 
Once more there was a consultation, and then the riders, 
bowing slightly, galloped off to the village — halted a few 
minutes at the public-house — and disappeared where the 
high road turned into the wood. 

" What can they want, Mr. Wohlfart?" inquired Karl. 
" That was a strange flying visit." 

" Yes, indeed," replied Anton ; " I have reason to 
think it remarkable. If I am not much mistaken I have 
met one of the gentlemen before in very different circum- 
stances. Perhaps that fellow Bratzky knew how to make 
himself friends through the mammon of unrighteousness." 

The evening now wrapped castle and forest in its dark 
mantle. The servants returned with the horses from the 
wood. Karl led them into Anton's presence, made them a 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



17 



short Polish oration, and received them into the service of 
the new proprietor. Next came the landlord to look after 
them, bringing oats and a bundle of wood, and saying to 
Anton, " T recommend you, sir, to be watchful during the 
night ; the peasants sit yonder in the bar and discuss your 
arrival ; there are bad men about, and I would not be sure 
that one of them might not stick a match into the straw 
yonder, and burn down the farm buildings for you." 

I am sure enough that they will do nothing of the 
kind," said Karl, throwing another log into the stove. " A 
fresh breeze is blowing right on to the village. No one 
would be such a fool as to set his own barns on fire. We 
shall take care to keep the wind in this point as long as we 
are here. Tell your people that. Have you brought me the 
potatoes I asked for ? " 

Anton appointed the landlord to return the next morning, 
and the travellers were left alone in the desolate house, 

" You need not heed that hint, Mr. Anton," continued 
Karl. " All over the world drunken rascals have a trick 
of threatening fire. And after all, with reverence be it 
said, it would be no great harm. And now, Mr. Anton, 
that we are by ourselves, let us think as little as pos- 
sible about this Polish affair — let us set to and be 
comfortable." 

" I'm all right," said Anton, drawing a chair to the 
stove. The wood crackled in the gTeen tiles, and the red 
glare threw a warm light over the floor, and flickered 
pleasantly on the walls. 

" The warmth does one good," said Anton ; " but do 
you not perceive smoke ?" 

" Of course," replied Karl, who was boring round holes 

VOL. II. B 



18 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



in the potatoes by the fire light. " Even the best stoves 
will smoke at the beginning of winter, till they get accus- 
tomed to their work ; and this great green fellow has pro- 
bably not seen fire for a generation, so it is not to be 
expected that he should draw kindly at once. Be so good 
as to cut a bit of bread and hold it to the fire. I am 
getting our candles ready." He took out a great packet 
of candles, stuck one into each potato, cut off" the lower 
half, and placed them on the table, and then produced the 
japanned case. " This is inexhaustible," said he ; " it 
will last till the day after to-morrow." 

" That it will," said Anton cheerily. " I am wonder- 
fully hungry. And now let us consider how we shall 
manage our housekeeping. What we absolutely want we 
must get from the town ; I will make a list at once. We 
will put out one candle though — we must be economical." 

The evening was spent in plans. Karl discovered that 
he could make part of the necessary furniture out of the 
boxes and boards about ; and the laughter of the two 
companions sounded cheerfully through the rooms of the 
Starost's dwelling. At last Anton proposed that they 
should go to bed. They shook down straw and hay, 
unbuckled their portmanteaus, and produced some blankets 
and coverlets. Karl fastened a lock that he had brought 
with him into the room-door, examined the loading of his 
carbine, took up his potato, and said, with a military 
salute, " At what time does major-general the agent wish 
to be called to-morrow ?" 

"You good fellow!" cried Anton, reaching out his hand 
from his straw bed. 

Karl went into the next room, which he had chosen 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



19 



for himself. Soon both candles were extinguished — the 
first signs of life which had shone for years in the forsaken 
dwelling. But in the stove the little Kobolds of the castle 
lingered long over the newly-kindled fire ; they hovered in 
the smoke wreaths, they knocked at doors and windows in 
amazement at the proceedings of the strangers. At length 
they assembled in a corner of the old tower, and began to 
dispute as to whether or not the flames lighted this evening 
would continue to burn, and to cast henceforth their cheer- 
ful glow on meadow, fields, and woods ; and as they 
doubted whether the new order of things had strength 
enough to endure, the smoke drove the bats from their 
home in the chimney, and they came flapping down stupified 
on the summit of the tower, vrhile the owls in its crevices 
shook their round heads and hooted in the new era. 



20 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



CHAPTER IL 



TTE who has always trodden life's macadamized ways, 
hedged in by law, moulded by order, custom, form, 
handed down from generation to generation habits a thou- 
sand years old, and who finds himself suddenly thrown 
among strangers, where law can but imperfectly protect him, 
and where he must assert by daily struggles his right to 
exist — such a one realizes for the first time the full blessing 
of the holy circle woven round each individual by his 
fellow-men, his family, his companions in labour, his race, 
his country. Whether he lose or gain in foreign parts, he 
must needs change. If he is a weakling, he will sacrifice 
his own maniere d'etre to the external influences around 
him ; if he has the making of a man m him, he will be- 
come one now. The possessions, perhaps the prejudices, 
that he has grown up with, will wax dearer to him than 
ever ; and much that once he looked upon as things of 
course, like air and sunshine, will become his most prized 
treasures. It is in foreign countries that we first enjoy the 
dialect of home, and in absence that we learn how dear to 
us is our fatherland. 

Our Anton had now to find out what he possessed and 
what he wanted. 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



21 



The following morning they proceeded to view the entire 
property. It consisted of the mansion-house, with the 
lands and buildings adjacent, and of three farms. About 
half the land was arable, a smiill part laid down in meadow ; 
about half was wood, bordered with barren sand. The 
castle and the village lay about the middle of the great 
clearing ; two of the farms were at opposite points of the 
compass, east and west, and both were hid by projections 
of the forest. The third farm lay towards the south, and 
was entirely divided by a wood from the rest of the estate. 
It joined on to another Polish village, had its own farm 
buildings, and had always been separately cultivated. It 
occupied about a quarter of the plain, had a distillery on it, 
and had been rented for many years by a brandy-merchant, 
well to do. His lease had been extended by Ehrenthal, 
but the sum he paid was low. However, his occupancy 
was at present a good thing for the property, as it insured 
some return for one portion of it, at least. The devastated 
wood was under the care of a forester. 

The first walk through the portion adjacent to the castle 
was as little cheering as possible : the fields were, gene- 
rally speaking, not prepared for winter-sowing; and wherever 
the marks of the plough appeared, the land had been taken 
possession of by the villagers, who regarded the neglected 
property as their perquisite, and looked morosely at the 
foreign settlers. 

For years they had done none of the work tliat their 
feudal tenure required of them, and the village bailiff 
plainly told Anton that the community would resent any 
return to old customs. He pretended that he did not un- 
derstand a word of German, and even Karl's eloquence 



22 



DEBIT AND CEEDIT. 



failed to conciliate him. The soil itself, neglected and 
weedy as it was, turned out generally better than Anton 
had expected, and the landlord boasted of his crops ; but 
in the vicinity of the wood it was very poor, and in many 
places quite unfit for culture. 

" This is a serious sort of day," said Anton, putting up 
his pocket-book. " Harness the britschka ; we will drive 
to see the cattle." 

The farm where the cattle were quartered lay to the 
west, about a mile and a half from the castle. A miserable 
stable and the cottage of a farm-servant was all they found 
there. The cows an^l a pair of draught oxen were under 
his charge, and he lived there with his wife and a half- 
witted herdsman. None of these people understood much 
German, or inspired any confidence : the wife was a dirty- 
woman, without shoes and stockings, whose milk-pails looked 
as if long unwashed. The farm-servant, and sometimes the 
herdsman, ploughed with the yoke of oxen wherever they 
chose ; the cattle fed on the meadow land. 

" Here is work for you," said Anton ; " examine the 
cattle and see what you can find of winter provender. I 
will make an inventory of the building and implements." 

Karl soon came to report. " Four and twenty milch 
cows, twelve heifers, and an old bull ; about a dozen 
cows at most are in profit, the rest mere grass-devourers. 
The whole of them are a poor set. Some foreign cows, 
probably Swiss ones, have been brought over and crossed 
with a much larger breed, and the result is ugly enough. 
The best cows have evidently been exchanged ; for some 
TVTetched creatures are running about, the rest keeping 
aloof from them : they can't have been here long. As to 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



23 



fodder, there is hay enough for Avinter, and a few bundles 
of oat straw. No wheat straw at all. 

" The buildings are out of order, too," cried Anton in 
return. "Drive now to the distillery. I have carefully 
examined the conditions of the lease, and am better up in 
it than in most things." 

The carriage rolled over a shaky bridge that spanned 
the brook, then through fields and an expanse of sand, 
scantily covered with arenaceous plants, in whose roots a pine- 
seed had nestled here and there, stretching dwarf-branches 
over the waste. Then came the woods, with many a gap, 
where lay nothing but yellow sand ; and on all sides, stumps 
overgrown with heath and brambles. Slowly the horses 
waded on. Neither of the strangers spoke, as both were 
engaged in observing every tree that a fortunate chance had 
allowed to grow and sjoread better than the rest. 

At length the prospect widened, and another plain lay 
before them, monotonous and forest-bounded like the rest. 
Before them rose a church. They drove past a wooden 
crucifix, and stopped at the courtyard of the farm. The 
tenant had already heard of their arrival ; and perhaps he 
was better acquainted with the Baron's circumstances than 
Anton could have wished, for he received them in a patro- 
nizing and self-sufficient manner, hardly taking the trouble 
to lead them into an unoccupied room. His first question 
w^as " Do you really believe that Rothsattel will be able to 
take possession of the estate? There is much to be done 
on it, and from all I hear, the poor man has not got the 
capital required." 

This cool demeanour exasperated Anton not a little, but 
he answered with the composure that habits of business 



24 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



^ve, " If you wish to ask me whether the Baron Rothsattel 
will undertake the management of the estate, I have to say 
in reply that he will be all the better able to do so, the 
more conscientiously his tenants and dependants perform 
their duties. I am here at present to ascertain how far you 
have done this. I have authority given me, by the terms 
of your lease, to examine your inventory. And if you 
value the Baron's goodwill, I recommend you to treat his 
representative more civilly." 

" The Baron's goodwill is perfectly immaterial to me," 
said the inflated tenant. " But since you speak of autho- 
rity, perhaps you will show me your credentials." 

" Here they are," said Anton, quietly drawing the docu- 
ment in question from his pocket. 

The tenant read it carefully through, or at least pretended 
to do so, and rudely replied, " I am not very sure after all 
whether you have a right to look over my premises, but I 
have no objection to it ; so go and inspect as much as you 
like." And putting on his cap, he turned to leave the 
room, but Anton at once barred the way, and said in his 
quiet, business voice, " I give you the choice of conducting 
me over your premises at once, or having an inventory 
drawn out by a lawyer. This last measure will occasion 
you unnecessary expense. I would besides, remind you that 
the goodwill of the proprietor is necessary to every tenant 
who wishes for an extension of his lease, and that yours 
will be out in two years' time. It is no pleasure to me to 
spend two hours in your society ; but if you do not fulfil 
your contract, the Baron will of course take advantage of 
it to break your lease. I give you your choice." 

The tenant looked for a few minutes with a stupified ex- 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



25 



pression at Anton's resolute countenance, and at last said, 
" If you insist upon it, of course. I did not mean to 
offend." He then reluctantly touched his hat, and led the 
way into the courtyard. 

Anton took out his tablets once more, and the survey 
began. — 1. Dwelling-house : the roof out of order. 2. 
Cow-house : one side of the lower wall fallen ; and so on. 
The survey was, on the whole, unsatisfactory ; but Anton's 
business-like demeanour, and Karl's martial aspect, were 
not without their influence over the tenant, who gradually 
relaxed, and muttered out a few excuses. 

When Anton got into the carriage again, he said to him, 
"I give you four weeks to rectify what we have found 
amiss, and at the end of that time I shall call again." 

To which Karl added, " Will you have the kindness to 
raise your hat as you now see me do This is the right 
moment for the ceremony. That's it ! You will learn the 
proper thing in time. Drive on, coachman." 

"When you return," continued Karl to Anton, "this 
man will be as obsequious as possible. He has grown 
bumptious on the farm." 

" And the estate has grown the poorer because of him," 
said Anton. " Now then for the new farm !" 

A poor dwelling-house on one side, a long row of sheep- 
pens on the other, a stable, and a barn. 

"It is remarkable," said Karl, looking at the buildings 
from a distance, " the thatch has no holes, and in the 
corner there is a stack of new straw. By Jove, they have 
mended the roof !" 

" Here is our last hope," replied Anton. , 

As the carriage drew up, the heads of a young woman 



26 



DEBIT AND CKEDIT. 



and a flaxen-haired child appeared for a moment at the 
window, then rapidly retreated. 

" This farm is the jewel of the estate," cried Karl, jump- 
ing over the side of the carriage. "There are actually 
signs of a dunghill here ; and there go a cock and hens. 
Something like a cock too, with a tail like a sickle ! And 
there is a myrtle in the window. Hurra ! here is a house- 
wife ! here is the fatherland ! here are Germans ! " 

The w^oman came out — a neat figure — followed by the 
curly pate, who, at the sight of strangers, put his fingers in 
his mouth, and crept behind his mother s apron. 

Anton inquired for her husband. 

"He can see your carriage from the field; he will be 
here immediately," said the wife, blushing. She invited 
them in, and hastily rubbed two chairs bright with her 
apron. 

The room was small, but whitewashed ; the ftiniiture 
painted red, but kept very clean ; the coffee-pot was sim- 
mering on the stove; a Black-forest clock ticked in the 
comer; on some hanging shelves stood two painted China 
figures, a few cups, and about a dozen books; and behind 
the little looking-glass on the wall there was a fly-flap, 
and a birch rod carefully bound round with red ribbon. It 
was the first comfortable room that they had seen on the 
estate. 

" A song-book and a rod," said Anton good-naturedly. 
" I do believe you are a good woman. Come here, flaxen- 
hair." He took the scared, stolid child on his knee, and 
made him ride there — walk — trot — gallop — till the little 
fellow at last got courage to take his fingers out of his 
mouth. 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



27 



" He is used to that," said his mother, much pleased. 
"It is just what his father does when he is a good boy." 

" You have had a hard time of it here," suggested Anton. 

"Ah, sir!" cried she, "when we heard that a German 
family had bought the estate, and that we had to keep 
things together for them, and thought they would soon 
come and perhaps drive over here, we were as glad as chil- 
dren. My husband was all day just like one who has been 
in the public-house, and I wept for joy. We thought that 
at last there would be some order, and we should know 
what we were working for. My husband spoke seriously to 
the shepherd — he is from our part of the country — and 
they both resolved that they would not allow the steward 
to sell any more away. And so my husband told him. 
But weeks passed, and no one came. We sent every day to 
the village to inquire; and my husband went to Rosmin 
and saw the lawyer. But it seemed they were not coming 
after all, and that the estate would be sold again. Then, a 
fortnight ago, the steward came over with a strange butcher, 
and wanted my husband to give him the wethers; but he 
refused. At that they threatened him, and wanted to force 
their way into the sheep-pens; but the shepherd and my 
husband were too much for them ; so off they went cm'sing, 
and declaring they would have the sheep yet. Since then 
a man has watched every night ; there hangs a loaded gun 
which we have boiTOwed; and when the shepherd's dog 
barks, I get up, and am dreadfully frightened about my 
husband and child. There are dangerous men about here, 
sir, and that you will find." 

" I hope things will improve," said Anton ; " you lead a 
solitary life here." 



28 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



" It is solitary, indeed," said the woman, " for we hardly 
ever go to the village, and only sometimes on Sunday to 
the German village, where we go to church. But there 
is always something to be done about the house ; and," 
continued she, somewhat embarrassed, " I will just tell you 
all, and if you don't approve, we can give it up. I have 
dug a little space behind the barn, we have hedged it in, 
and made a garden of it, where I gTOw what I want for 
cooking ; and then," with increased embarrassment, " there 
are the poultry and a dozen ducks ; and if you won t be 
angry, the geese on the cjtubble-fields, and," wiping her 
eyes with her apron, " there is the cow and the calf" 

" Our calf ! " cried the child in ecstasy, slapping Anton's 
knees with his fat hands. 

" If you do not approve of my having kept the cow for 
myself," continued the weeping woman, we will give it 
up. My husband and the shepherd have had no wages 
since the last wool-shearing, and we have been obliged to 
buy necessaries ; but my husband has kept an account of 
everything, and he will show it you, that you may see that 
we are not dishonest people." 

"I hope it will so appear," replied Anton soothingly ; 
" and now let us have a look at your garden ; you shall 
keep it if possible." 

" There is not much in it," said the woman, leading them 
to the enclosed space where the beds were all prepared for 
their winter's rest. She stooped down, and gathered the 
few flowers remaining, some asters, and her especial pride, 
some autumn violets. Tying them together, she gave the 
nosegay to Anton, "because," said she with a pleasant 
smile, "you are a German." 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



29 



A quick step was now heard in tlie yard, and in came 
the tenant with reddened cheeks, and made his bow to 
them. 

He was a fine young man, with a sensible countenance, 
and a trustworthy manner. Anton spoke encouragingly, 
and he readily produced his accounts. 

" We will look over the stock now," replied Anton ; 
" the books I will take with me. Come to me to-morrow 
at the castle, and we can arrange the rest." 

" The horses are in the fields," said the tenant ; " I 
drive one plough myself, and the shepherd's lad helps with 
the other. We have only four horses here ; once there 
were twelve in the stable. We have of late cultivated 
little more than was necessary for ourselves and the cattle. 
There is a want of everything." 

However, the survey turned out cheering on the whole ; 
the buildings were in tolerable repair, and the crops lately 
got in promised to keep the flocks through the winter. 
Last of all, the farmer, with a pleased smile, opened a door 
in his dwelling-house, and pointed out a heap of pease* 
" You have seen the straw and hay already," he said, " but 
here are the pease which I hid from the steward, thinking 
they belonged to you. Indeed, there was some selfishness 
in it," continued he candidly ; " for we were so placed that 
we got nothing, and I was obliged to think of some way 
of keeping the farm going, in case the winter brought no 
help." 

" Very good," said Anton, smiKng ; " I hope we shall 
understand each other well. And now to the sheep. 
Come with us, farmer." 

The carriage rolled slowly along the fields — the tenant 



30 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



eagerly pointing out their condition. Not the fourth part 
of the land belonging to the farm was ploughed; the rest 
had been in pasture for many years past. 

As they approached the flocks — the only living creatures 
of any worth on the estate, Karl impatiently jumped 
out. 

The shepherd slowly came to meet the strangers, accom- 
panied by his two dogs, one an old experienced character, 
who walked at the same pace as his master, and looked 
with as much intelligence and discrimination at the new 
authorities ; the other, a young fellow, a pupil, who vainly 
attempted to maintain the aspect of calm dignity becoming 
his responsible calling, but kept mnning with youthful eager- 
ness ahead of his master, and barking at the strangers, till 
a growl of rebuke from his wiser companion brought him 
back to propriety. The shepherd took off his broad- 
brimmed hat with all civility, and waited to be addressed. 
As a man of intuition and reflection, he perfectly knew who 
he saw before him, but it would have ill become one whose 
whole life had been spent in restraining precipitation 
on the part of sheep and dogs, to have evinced undue 
curiosity. 

The farmer introduced the strangers to him with a cir- 
cular movement of his hand, and the shepherd made several 
bows in succession, to show that he perfectly understood 
who they were. " A fine flock, shepherd," said Anton. 

" Five hundred and five-and-twenty head," replied the 
shepherd. " Eighty-six of them lambs, forty fat wethers." 
He looked round the flock for a sheep, who deserved to be 
presented as a specimen, and suddenly stooping, caught up 
one by the hind legs, and exhibited the wool. Karl was 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



31 



intent in the examination. They were great strong sheep, 
well fitted for the country, and far exceeded, both in con- 
dition and wool, what might have been looked for. " If 
they get plenty of food, they give wool," said the shepherd 
proudly. " It is first-rate wool." 

A yearling was at that moment thoughtless enough to 
cough. The shepherd looked disapprovingly at it, and said, 
" The whole flock is perfectly healthy." 

"How long have you been in service here?" inquii-ed 
Anton. 

"Nine years," was the reply. "When I came, the 
creatures were like the poodles in town, all bare behind. 
It has taken trouble to bring them round. No one else 
has ever seen after them, but they have not fared the 
worse for that. If I could only always have had pea- 
straw for them j and this winter, common pease for the 
mothers." 

" We must see what can be done," said Anton ; " but 
■we shall have to be sparing in our management this 
winter." 

" True," said the shepherd ; " but, however, this is good 
pasture." 

" I can well believe," said Anton, smiling, " that your 
sheep have nothing to complain of. There are few fields 
here which your dog has not barked over for years. I have 
been delighted to hear how bravely you have defended the 
property of your new master. Have the people about often 
behaved ill to you 1 " 

" I can hardly say, sir," replied the shepherd ; " men 
are everywhere alike — they are not to be depended on. I 
would rather bring up a colly than a man." He leant 



32 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



upon his staff, and looked with satisfaction upon his dog, 
who, true to his post, had been barking round the flock, 
and now came back to give his master's legs a confidential 
flap with his tail. " Look at this dog ! When I have had 
a dog in training for two years, he is either good or not. 
If not, I send him away, and have done with him ; if good, 
I can trust him as I do myself, so long as he lives ! That 
boy yonder with the wethers, I have had three years with 
me, and I can never tell the hour that some confounded 
freak or other may not come into his head, or that, instead 
of driving my sheep to the right, he may not run off to the 
left. That's why I say there's not much i-eliance to be 
placed upon men." 

"And on whom do you rely in this world?" asked 
Anton. 

" First of all on myself, for I know myself, then on my 
dog Crambo, for I know him too, and, besides, I trust as I 
ought" — he looked up for a moment, then gave a low 
whistle, and Crambo set out again on his rounds. "And 
you, sir," continued the shepherd, " shall you remain with 
the Baron V 

" I think so." 

" May I ask as what ? You are neither steward nor 
bailiff, for you have not yet looked at the wethers. The 
wethers should be sold, it's high time for it. So may I ask 
what you are to the new landlord 1 " 

" If you want a name, you may call me his account- 
ant." 

" Accountant," said the shepherd thoughtfully ; " then 
I am to discuss my allowance with you." 
" You shall do so the next time we meet." 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



33 



*' There is no hurry," said the shepherd ; " but one likes 
to know how one stands. There is a pane broken in my 
room, the glazier will be coming to the castle, and I hope, 
Mr. Accountant, you will remember me." 

Karl and the farmer now joined them. " To the 
forester !" cried Anton to the driver. 

" You mean to go to the forester's ? " inquired the 
farmer. 

" To the forester's ! " repeated the shepherd, drawing 
nearer. 

" Why does that surprise you ?" inquired Anton from 
the carriage. 

" Only," stammered out the farmer, " because the forester 
is a strange man. If the Baron himself were to come, he 
would not surrender." 

" Does he live in a fortress then 1 " inquired Anton, 
laughing. 

" He locks himself up," said the tenant, " and lets no 
one enter ; he has a way of his own." 

"He is a wild man of the woods," said the shepherd, 
shaking his head. 

" The Poles say that he is a magician," continued the 
farmer. 

" He can make himself invisible !" cried the shep- 
herd. 

" Do you believe that ?" asked Karl, much amazed. 

" Not I, but there are plenty in the village who do." 

"He is a good sort of man at bottom, but he has his 
oddities," affirmed the farmer. 

" I hope he will respect my position," rejoined Anton ; 
" it will be worse for him if he does not." 

VOL. II. c 



34 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



" It would be better that I should speak to the forester 
first," suggested the tenant. " Will you allow me to 
drive thither with you? He is on friendly terms with 
me." 

" With all my heart ; take the reins and we will leave 
the servant to manage the plough till we set you down 
again on our way back. And now then for this dangerous 
character." 

The carriage turned into a road bordered with young- 
firs, and leading into the wood. The ground was again 
sandy, and the trees poor. They went on over stones and 
stumps till at length the wood stopped altogether at a plan- 
tation apparently about fifteen years old : here the tenant 
fastened the reins round the trunk of a tree, and begged the 
gentlemen to dismount. They walked on through a thicket 
of young trees, whose long spikes brushed their clothes as 
they passed, and filled the air with a strong resinous perfume. 
Beyond this the ground sank, green moss spread a soft 
carpet round, and a group of giant pines reared their dark 
crowns high in the air — there stood the forester's house, a 
low wooden building surrounded by a strong wooden fence, 
and further guarded by a triple hedge of youug fir-trees. 
A little spring trickled under the fence, and gurgled amongst 
a few large stones, overshadowed by giant ferns. 

Altogether it was a picture that could not fail to please 
in this district of sand and heath. No one was to be seen 
about, and there was not a trace of a footstep on the moss 
— it was only the barking of a dog from within that 
announced the dwelling to be inhabited. They went round 
the hedge till they came to a narrow door, which was firmly 
bolted. 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



35 



" His bullfinch sits above the window," said the tenant ; 
" he is at home." 

Call him, then," desired Anton. 

" He knows already that we are here," replied the man, 
pointing to a row of small openings in the hedge ; " look 
at his peep-holes. He is watching us, but this is always 
his way. I must give him a signal, or he will never open." 
Accordingly he put two fingers in his mouth and whistled 
three times, but there was no reply. " He is a cunning 
fellow," said the tenant, perplexed, whistling again so shrilly 
that the dog's bark changed into a howl, and the bullfinch 
began to flap his wings. 

At last a rough voice sounded on the other side of 
the fence. " Who the deuce are you bringing with 
you?" 

" Open, forester," cried the tenant ; " the new gentry are 
come." 

" Go to the devil with your gentry; I am sick of the 
whole race." 

The tenant looked in perplexity towards Anton. " Open 
the door," said the latter authoritatively ; " it will be better 
for you to do of your own accord what I can force you 
to do." 

" Force ! " said the voice. " How will you manage that, 
pray?" The double barrel of a gun now made its appear- 
ance through a hole in the door, turning conveniently to one 
side, then the other. 

" Your gun will not help you," was the reply ; " we 
have that on our side which will henceforth be stronger 
in this forest than brute force, and that is law and our 
right." 



36 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



" Indeed ! " asked the voice. " And who, then, are 
you ? " 

" I am the agent of the new proprietor, and command 
you to open the door." 

" Is your name Moses or Levi ?" inquired the voice, 
" I will have nothing to do with an agent. Whoever comes 
to me as an agent, I set down for a rogue." 

" A plague upon your hard head !" cried Karl in a 
towering passion. " How dare you speak so disrespect- 
fully of my master, you crazy Jackboots you !" 

" Jackboots !" said the voice. " I like that, that sounds 
more like fair dealing than any thing I have heard for a long 
time." The bolts were shot back, and the forester appeared 
at the door, which he shut behind him. He was a short 
broad-set man with grizzled hair, and a long grey beard, 
which hung down on his breast ; a pair of keen eyes shone 
out of his furrowed face, he wore a thick shaggy coat, out 
of which sun and rain had expelled every trace of colour, 
carried his double-barrel gun in his hand, and looked 
defiance at the strangers. "Who is buUying here?" 
said he. 

" I am," answered Karl, stepping forward ; " and you 
shall get something besides hard words if you continue in 
your insubordination." 

" What sort of a cap is that you wear V asked the old 
man, looking hard at him. 

" Have you grown into a mere fungus here in your wood 
that you do not know it ?" replied Karl, settling his soldier's 
cap more firmly on his head. 

" Hussar V asked the forester. 

" Invalid," was the reply. 



DEBIT AND CflEDIT. 



37 



The old man pointed to a small strip of ribbon on his 
coat. " Militia," said he ; "1813 and 1814." 

Karl made a military salute. " All honour to you, 
old boy, but you are a rough one, notwithstanding." 

"WeU, you are not much like an invalid," said the 
forester ; " you look wild enough, and know how to rap 
out an oath. So you are neither tradesman nor steward 
said he, turning to Anton. 

" Now, do behave like a sensible man," said the farmer. 
" This gentleman has been empowered to take possession of 
the estate, and to manage everything till the family come. 
You will get yom'self into sad trouble with your obstinate 
ways." 

" Indeed ! " said the forester. " Don't be anxious 
about me, I shall manage well enough. So you are an 
agent, are you ?" said he, turning to Anton. " Of late 
years I have had enough of agents ; and I'll tell you what," 
he went on, coming a few steps nearer ; " you'll find 
neither books nor accounts with me. This is the state of 
things : — For five years I, as the forester in charge of this 
wood, have been quarrelling with agents. Each agent has 
put ever so much timber into his pocket, and at last the 
villagers have come from all the country round and carried 
off whatever they liked, and when I held my gun under 
their nose, they thrust a rascally bit of paper under mine, 
in which, forsoothj they had got leave from the agent. I 
had nothing more to say, and so I have just taken care of 
myself. There is but little game, but what I have shot I 
have eaten, and have sold the skins — for one must live. 
It's five years since I have touched a farthing of salary — I 
have paid myself Every year I have taken fifteen of these 



38 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



trees. As far as to the clearing yonder, tlie wood is ninety- 
years old. I reckon that they will last me about three 
winters longer. When the last is felled, I will shoot my 
dog, and choose out a quiet spot in the forest for myself." 
He looked down darkly at his gnu. "I have lived here 
thirty years, I have buried my wife and my children in the 
German churchyard, and I don't trouble myself about what 
is to befall me now. So far as my dog's bark can be heard, 
and my gun reach, the wood is in order — the rest belonged 
to the agent. That is my reckoning, and now you may do 
what you like with me and, much excited, he stamped 
the butt-end of his gun on the ground. 

" I shall reply to what I have just heard," said Anton, 
" in the house and room which henceforth belongs to your 
master, the Baron Rothsattel." He stepped up to the 
door and laid his hands on its wooden bolt. " I take pos- 
session of this in the name of the new proprietor." Then 
opening it, he beckoned to the forester — " Keep back your 
dogs, and lead us in as you ought." 

The old man made no opposition, but slowly preceded 
them, called down his dogs, and opened the house 
door. 

Anton entered with his companions. "And now, 
forester, that you have opened the house," said he, " we 
\vill proceed to an arrangement at once. What has hitherto 
been done here by you cannot be altered, and shall not be 
discussed ; but from this day forth you will receive your 
regular allowance, and matters must be put on a different 
footing. I now place the forest, and all that belongs to 
the forest department, under your charge. Your duty now 
is to stand up for your master's rights, and from this time 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



39 



forward I make you responsible for them. I shall protect 
you as far as I can, and shall claim for you the protection 
of the law. We shall be severe in prosecuting all who 
damage this wood any further. This estate shall be better 
managed henceforth, and your new master expects that you 
will help him to do so, as a faithful and obedient man 
should. And there must be an end of this wild life of 
yours in the bush ; we are fellow-countrymen, you know. 
You will come regularly to the castle and report the state 
of things, and we will take care that you shall not feel 
desolate in your old days. If you purpose honestly to fulfil 
the requirements I have just been making, give me your 
hand on it." 

The forester had stood abashed, listening, cap off, to 
Anton's address, and he now took the hand offered to him, 
and said, " I do." 

" With this shake of the hand, then," continued Anton, 
" I take you into the service of the present proprietor." 

The forester held Anton's hand in both his, and at length 
exclaimed, " If I live to see things improve on the estate, I 
shall rejoice. I will do all I can, but I tell you before- 
hand we shall have a hard fight for it. Owing to the 
agents and the rascally management, the people on the estate 
are become a pack of robbers, and I am afraid that my old 
gun will often be obliged to have the last word of the 
argument." 

" We will neither do wrong, nor suffer wrong, and we 
must take the consequences," was the earnest reply. " And 
now, forester, show us your house, and then accompany us 
into the wood." 

Anton then went over the little building : it was entirely 



40 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



of rougli wood. The light fell dimly through the small 
windows, and the brown walls and blackened beams in- 
creased the darkness, and gave the room a mysterious aspect. 
It was difficult at first to distinguish the objects on the 
walls : antlers, dogs' collars, huntsmen's horns, whips, and 
stuffed birds. On the stove stood a small press with cook- 
ing apparatus. 

" I cook for myself," said the forester, " and get what I 
want from the public-house." 

There were several bird-cages in the windows, and a con- 
stant trilling and chirping going on within them. Near the 
stove sat a raven, whose rough plumage, and the white 
feathers about his beak and wings, proved his great age. 
He had drawn his head in between his shoulders, and 
seemed self-absorbed, but in reality his bright eye was ob- 
serving every movement of the strangers. 

Next came the bedroom, where several guns were hanging. 
A grating before the window proved that this was the 
citadel of the house. 

"Where does that door lead to V asked Anton, pointing 
to a trap-door in the floor. 

" To a cellar," replied the forester with some embarrassment. 

"Is it arched V 

" I will take you down, if you mil come alone." 

" Wait for us," cried Anton to his companions in the room. 

The forester lit a lantern, carefully bolted the door, and 
went first with the light. 

" I had not thought," said he, " that any eyes but mine 
would see my secret in my lifetime." 

A few steps led them into a narrow vault, one side of 
which had been broken through, and a low subterranean 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



41 



passage made, supported by stems of trees triangularly- 
placed. 

« That is my run," said the forester, holding the candle 
down, " and it leads into the young wood. It is more than 
forty yards long, and T was a great while excavating it. This 
is the way I creep in and out unobserved ; and I may thank 
it that I am here still, for this is why the stupid villagers 
believe me a sorcerer. When they have watched me go 
into the house, and think they may steal in safely, I sud- 
denly appear amongst them. Two years ago, a band of 
them broke into my house, and it would have been all up 
with me, but that I slunk out here like a badger. Do not 
betray to any one what I have just shown you." 

Anton promised that he would not, and they went back 
into the little enclosure, where they found Karl occupied in 
fastening, between four blocks that he had driven into the 
ground, the wooden trough of a young fox. The fox, in- 
sensible to this delicate attention on the part of the hussar, 
snarled at him, rattled his chain, and tried all it could, 
under the board that Karl had placed across its kennel, to 
get at his hands. 

"Do you want to kiss my hands, little red-head?" 
cried Karl, hammering away. " You are a pretty fellow ! 
AVhat a pair of soft trutliful eyes you have, to be sure ! 
Now there it's done, jump backwards and forwards as much 
as you like. He does what's told him, forester ; a good- 
natured beast — something of your own character, comrade." 

The forester laughed. " Do you know how to set about 
trapping a fox ?" 

" I should think so," said Karl. 

"There are plenty more such fellows here," continued 



42 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



the old man ; " if you like, we will go after them next 
Sunday." 

And so they went together through the wood, all on the 
best terms possible. Anton called the forester to his side, 
and got much information from him. Certainly, he had 
nothing very cheering to tell. Of wood fit for cutting 
there Avas hardly enough for the use of the family and 
tenants. The old system of plunder had done its worst 
here. As they reached the carriage, the forester respect- 
fully touched his hat, and asked at what hour in the morn- 
ing he should come to the castle. 

Anton rejoiced to have succeeded so well in concealing 
the feeling of insecurity w^hich made his present position an 
irksome one to him. 

" You see," said he to his faithful ally, as they both 
sat over the green tile stove at evening, " what disturbs 
me most is, that I feel more ignorant and helpless tlian any 
of the servants about, and yet I have got to maintain their 
respect. These two last days have taught me how little 
mere goodwill can do. Now, then, give me some sensible 
advice. Wliat shall be our next step ?" 

" First sell off all the cattle that are out of profit, and 
instantly dismiss the good-for-nothing people who have them 
in charge. Bring cattle and horses to the farm-yard, that 
we may have them under our own eyes. What can be 
done in farming A\iith our small means, shall be done regu- 
larly, not hurried over. We must buy straw and oats for 
the present. Till next year, when a regular bailiff will be 
wanted, give me the charge of things ; I shall not do much, 
to be sure, but more than any of your other people." 

It was already late, when a quick step was heard on the 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



43 



stairs. With a great stable-luntern in his hand, and a face 
full of bad news, the landlord made his appearance in 
Anton's room. " I wished to tell you, sir, what I have 
heard. A German from Kunau, who has just passed 
through, has brought word that Bratzky never got to 
Rosmin yesterday." 

"Never got there !" cried Anton, springing up. 

"About two miles from Rosmin, in the wood, four 
riders fell upon the carriage. It was dark ; the riders 
overpowered the gendarme and bound him, took off Bratzky 
and all his things, mounted him on one of the horses, 
and off with him into the bush. Two of them remained 
with the carriage, and obliged the driver to turn out of the 
road into a thicket, and there they stayed two whole hours, 
holding their loaded pistols at the gendarme and the driver 
all the time. The driver said the horses were gentlemen's 
horses, and that the riders spoke like gentry. The gen- 
darme was bruised, but otherwise unhurt, and they took 
your paper away from him." 

Anton and Karl looked at each other significantly, and 
thought of the party of the day before. 

"Where is the man who has brought the new^s ?" asked 
Anton, snatching up his hat. 

" He was in a hurry to get on before dark. To-morrow 
we shall hear more. Such a thing has not happened for 
years, as mounted men falling upon a carriage with a 
gendarme in it. When a robbery has been committed, it 
has always been on foot." 

" Did you know the riders who were in the village yes- 
terday afternoon, and who were calling for the steward ?" 
inquired Anton. 



44 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



The host cast a sly glance at him, and seemed reluctant 
to answer. 

" Nay," continued Anton, " you must have known them 
all, they belonged to this part of the country." 

" Wliy should not I know them?" replied the landlord, 
in some perturbation. " It was the rich Herr von Tarow 
himself with his guests. A powerful man, Mr. Wohlfart, 
who has the command of the police on your property too. 
And as to what he wanted with Bratzky 1 Bratzky, as 
inspector, has had to do with the police, and has often been 
employed by the gentry in buying and selling horses, and in 
other ways too. If the head of the police wanted to speak 
to the inspector, why should not he ? The Von Tarows are 
a clever set, who know what they are about, in speaking 
and acting." So far the landlord, with much fluency, but 
his eyes and the expression of his countenance told a very 
different tale. 

" You have a suspicion," cried Anton, looking fixedly at 
him. 

" God preserve me from all suspicion ! " continued the 
landlord, horrified at the idea. " And Mr. Wohlfart, if you 
will allow me to tell you my opinion, why should you go 
and suspect any one either 1 you will have enough to do on 
the property here, and will need the gentry romid in many 
ways. "Why should you make enemies for no p'orpose 1 
This is a country where the gentlemen ride in parties, and 
then divide, put their heads together, and then start off in 
different directions. He is wisest who does not trouble 
himself about them." 

When the landlord was gone, Anton said gloomily to 
Karl, " I am afraid that, besides our trouble with the pro- 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



45 



perty, much of a different nature is going on around us, 
which all our skill will not be able to set right." 

This singular circumstance set the whole country in a 
ferment. Anton was often summoned to Rosmin in the 
course of the next few weeks, but his depositions led to no 
result — the authorities not succeeding in discovering the 
offenders, or in getting hold of the abducted steward. 



48 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



CHAPTER III. 

AUR two colonists spent the next few weeks in such active 
pursuits, that every night, when they threw themselves 
upon their beds, they were quite exhausted. 

Karl had been duly installed as bailiff, and held the reins 
of management with a firm hand; and Anton had com- 
mitted the care of the house and kitchen to a hard-working 
woman, whom he found in one of the German settlements 
around. The most difficult matter had been to establish 
tolerably satisfactory relations with the adjacent village ; 
but Anton's calm decision had at all events prevented any 
outbreak of opposition. One of his first measures had been 
to appeal in all cases of breach of trust, or dereliction 
of duty, to the proper authorities. Karl's cavalry-cloak 
attracted a few men who had served; and through these, 
the most civilized part of the community, the settlers gained 
some influence over others. At length, several voluntarily 
offered to become servants at the castle, or day-labourers on 
the estate. 

Anton had written to the Baroness, not disguising from 
her the state of the property, nor the unfriendly feeling of 
the distiict, and his own anxiety about the fiimily m.oving 
thither in the course of the next winter. He had asked 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



47 



whether she would not prefer to remain till spring in the 
capital. In reply, he received a letter from Lenore, in which 
she told him on the part of her parents that they abode by 
their former resolve to leave the town, which had now be- 
come a painful residence to them all. She therefore begged 
him to have the castle put into a habitable condition as 
soon as possible. 

Anton called out to his ally, " They are actually coming I" 

"They are, are they?" said Karl. "It is fortunate that 
we have heard of workmen — masons, joiners, locksmiths, 
glaziers, potters, and so on. If you will allow me, I will 
at once send a messenger off to Rosmin. If I could only 
get off this ugly brown paint from the door — it hides the 
beautiful oak carving ! But lye won't stir it. And then 
how many stoves shall we want?" 

An important conversation now began. " We must leave 
the whole lower floor unoccupied," Anton said, " closing 
up the windows with thick boards ; but we shall have to 
put up a strong door in the hall, because one is constantly 
passing through it. These walls too cannot remain as they 
are, and we have no one to trust to but the Rosmin mason." 

" Since that is the case," said Karl, " I propose that we 
paint the walls ourselves. I am a dab-hand at marbling." 

"You are?" replied Anton, looking at him with some 
anxiety. " No ; I think we had better make all the rooms 
one colour. What do you think of browTi ? " 

" Hum — not bad," said Karl. 

" I know it is a favourite colour of Fraulein Lenore's. 
It must not be too dark though, but a bright mixture of 
yellow, grey, red, and green, with, perhaps, a little black 
in it." 



48 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



"Aha!" said Karl, disconcerted; "a peculiar sort of 
brown, I suppose." 

" Of course," continued Anton, eagerly drawing his chair 
nearer ; "we will mix it ourselves." 

" That's my way," said Karl ; " but I tell you beforehand, 
these chalk colours are the very deuce ! You paint a blue, 
the next day you have white ; you have the most beautiful 
orange in your brush, and when it has dried on the wall, it 
is a dirty yellow." 

" Between ourselves," replied Anton, " we shall not suc- 
ceed very perfectly ; but I think we shall manage to make 
things look tolerably comfortable." 

The following day the hammering and painting began. 
The joiner and his men set up a workshop on the lower 
floor ; above, the great brush of the painter kept unweary- 
ingly passing and repassing over the walls; and white 
figures, with great aprons, carried buckets now up, now 
down. As for Karl, he seemed to have a dozen hands. 
Whenever he could get away from the farm, he painted 
wood-work and walls with all sorts of brushes. He ran 
round with a foot-measure, drove in nails and hooks for cur- 
tains ; and the very next moment there he was again in the 
field or the stable; but everywhere whistling his soldier's 
songs, and urging on the labourers. As the arrangements 
of the house progressed, his love of beautifying became more 
and more developed. He bought a quantity of oil-paint, 
which he found excellent, and displayed a decided talent 
for the art. He now ventured to give to several objects, 
which seemed to him qualified to receive it, the appearance 
of finely-polished wood; and, with the aid of a soft brush 
and a bunch of feathers, succeeded in producing wonderful 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



49 



effects. He even carried his brush and his beautifying into 
the farmyard, and teased Anton into consenting to a general 
whitewashing of the mud walls. " They will dry in this 
weather just as well as in summer," said he. " My only 
regret is, that I can't wash the straw thatch." To make 
up for that, however, he was determined to give the two 
new potato-carts and the best plough a coating of beautiful 
blue oil-paint. " One must have something pleasant for 
the eye to rest on here," said he by way of apology. " And 
it will pay for itself, for these Poles get on better with 
gaily-coloured things." 

The castle was temporarily arranged, and the anival 
of the family expected on a cold December day. The sky 
had carried out Karl's wishes, most effectually covering the 
earth with a pure white mantle, and hiding many an eye- 
sore from the expected party. The snow lay thick on pas- 
ture and sands, the summits of the pines wore white crowns, 
and the leafless shrubs glittered with frost-crystals. The 
ugly straw thatches were whitewashed to some purpose ; the 
broken parapets of the bridge filled up. Each projection of 
the castle-walls, the top of the tower, the whole roof, was 
capped with dazzling white ; while the red-brown walls stood 
out in bold relief below. Within, it was a busy and excit- 
ing day. Wagons of furniture and stores were unpacked, and 
all arranged as well as the haste allowed. The farmer's wife 
and the housekeeper wove great garlands of fir-branches, 
and decorated the hall and the room-doors. The sun set, 
and the silver landscape turned to gold ; till the rising 
moon suffused it with a mysterious blue light. Several 
lamps were lit in the house, as many candk^s as possible 
placed in the apartments, the stoves all burned cheerily, and 

VOL. n. D 



50 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



the fir-twigs filled the air with their fragrance. The gay- 
curtains were drawn ; and the open suite of rooms looked so 
habitable, that Anton asked himself in amazement, " How 
the labours of a few weeks could have wrought such a 
change as this?" Karl had placed pitch-pans on both 
sides of the castle, and they shed a cheerful glow around. 

Meanwhile all the dependants assembled in the hall ; — 
the forester in a new green coat, the memorial of his 
battles on his breast, a deer-hound at his side, stood in 
military attitude next to the German farmer and the 
shepherd. The housekeeper and the farmer's wife had put 
their best ribbons on their caps, and tripped to and fro 
in restless expectation. Karl, too, appeared in his hussar's 
frock. 

Meanwhile, Anton went once more through the rooms, 
and listened for the crack of the whip that should announce 
the Baron's arrival. His own heart beat — for him, too, a 
new era was about to begin. After all, his life here had 
been a pleasant one enough hitherto : he and his trusty 
ally had felt themselves the masters of the castle, and had 
got through their anxieties cheerfully together. Now, 
however, Karl must take up his quarters in the farmyard ; 
v/hile Anton, according to the wish of the Baroness, was 
to occupy a room in the castle, so that he must come into 
daily relations with the family, and he now asked himself 
of what nature these would be. The Baron was almost a 
stranger to him, how would he suit this Baron ? And he 
was blind too ; yes, blind ! Leuore had written him word 
that the surgeon gave no hope of the injiu-ed optic nerve 
ever recovering. This had been kept back from the 
sufferer, who comforted himself with the hope that time 



DEBIT AND CEEDIT. 



51 



and skill might yet remove the dark cloud from his eyes. 
But Anton confided the truth to Karl, and was obliged to tell 
all the dependants that the Baron was at present suffering 
from his eyes, and obliged to wear a bandage over them : 
and he read upon the faces of all that they felt this was a 
misfortune for the property. And his heart beat unquietly, 
too, when he thought of Lenore, with whom he should now 
be brought into constant contact. How would she and 
her mother treat him 1 He determined carefully to sup- 
press what he now felt to have been idle claims, and so to 
behave from the first as to afi'ord them no cause for mor- 
tifying his self-respect. And yet he could not help 
wondering whether they would treat him as a friend 
and an equal, or make him feel that he was a hired de- 
pendant. It was in vain that he said to himself that his 
own feelings made the latter arrangement desirable ; he 
could not check the delightful visions that would arise of 
life led with Lenore on equal terms. 

The crack of the whip was now heard in the village, 
and soon the family and establishment arrived. The farm- 
servants, the landlord, and a few of the villagers were 
gTOuped around the pitch-pans. The farmers rushed for- 
ward to open the carriage-door, and as Lenore jumped out, 
and her face was seen, the women pressed nearer, and the 
men broke out into loud acclamations. All looked in 
eager expectation at the carriage. But the welcome met 
with no return. The Baron was got out with some diffi- 
culty, and with sunken head, supported by his wife and 
daughter, he toiled up the steps. The pale face of the 
Baroness from behind him, had only a mute glance for 
the tenants and servants — only a short nod of recogni- 



52 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



tion for Aiitoii, who proceeded to lead them to their suite 
of rooms. 

" All very nice, Mr. Wohlfart," said she with quivering 
lips ; and as he remained standing and waiting for his first 
orders, she dismissed him with a wave of the hand, and 
the words, " I thank you." When the door had closed 
upon Anton, the Baron stood helpless in the strange room, 
and the Baroness broke out into loud weeping. Lenore 
leant against the window, looking out into the snow- 
covered plain, with its black wall at the horizon, and 
great tears rolled silently down her cheeks. It was with 
a heavy heart that Anton -returned to tell the people 
assembled that the family were fatigued and overcome, and 
would not be seen by them till the morning. Karl had 
the carriage unpacked, and led the old cook, who wept like 
her mistress, into the underground kitchen. None of the 
family reappeared that evening, and the light was soon put 
out in their rooms ; but the pitch still glowed and 
flickered in the wind, and a black cloud rose above the 
window where the Baron sat hiding his face in his 
hands. 

Such was the entrance of this family upon their new 
estate. 

"How beautifully Wohlfart has arranged everything !" 
said Lenore to her mother the following day. 

" These high rooms are dreadful," replied the Baroness, 
wrapping her shawl around her ; " and the monotonous 
brown of the walls makes them still more desolate i" 

" It is surely time to send and ask him to come here 
and speak to us ?" suggested Lenore timidly. 

" Your father is not yet in a mood to speak to him." 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



53 



"Do not leave my father alone with Wohlfart," implored 
Lenore. " It would be horrible if he were to treat him 
rudely." 

The Baroness sighed. "We must accustom ourselves 
to pay to a stranger in our house a degree of attention 
and observance which will be irksome both to your father 
and to us." 

"How will you arrange about the housekeeping?" 
asked Lenore again. " Wohlfart will, of course, have his 
meals with us." 

" Impossible ! " said the Baroness firmly. " You know 
what a melancholy thing our dinner is. Your father is 
not yet calm enough to be able to bear the daily presence 
of a stranger." 

"Is he to eat with the servants, then ?" asked Lenore 
bitterly. 

" He will have his table laid in his own room, and on 
Sundays we shall always invite him, and, if he is not dis- 
agreeable to your father, often in the evenings also. More 
would be troublesome to all parties. It is desirable to 
reserve at first a comfortable amount of freedom. Your 
father's state will be sufficient excuse." 

She rang, and Anton was summoned. Lenore went to 
meet him, and with tearful eyes silently held out her 
hand. Anton was moved when he saw the traces of 
suffering in her mother's face. The Baroness prayed him 
to be seated, and in well-chosen words expressed her 
gratitude for all he had done, and asked him both for 
information and advice. Then she went on to say : " My 
husband wishes to speak to you. I earnestly beg you to 
remember that the Baron is an invalid. He has sufi'ered 



54 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



fearfully in mind and body. He is never free from pain, 
and his helplessness distresses him inexpressibly. We 
are careful to avoid whatever may excite him, and yet we 
cannot avert dark hours, nay, days. You, sir, will be 
considerate if his gloomy mood should affect you disagree- 
ably. Time, they say, heals all. I hope it will restore 
him to peace." 

Anton promised all possible consideration. 

" My husband will naturally wish to be placed in pos- 
session of all the facts connected with this property ; and 
yet I dread any painful impressions for him ! Therefore, 
whenever you have anything important to communicate, 
try to make the matter intelligible to me in the first 
instance. I may thus spare you much that is disagreeable. 
.1 shall have my writing-table carried into one of the rooms 
near yours, and I shall daily spend part of my mornings 
there. Lenore is her father's private secretary. And now, 
be kind enough to wait till I have announced your visit to 
the Baron." 

The Baroness left the room. Anton looked down 
gravely. Lenore went up to him and said, as cheerfully 
as she could, " Brown walls, Wohlfart ! my favourite colour. 
You are not glad that we are come, you ungallant man ! " 

" Only on your own account," rephed Anton, pointing to 
the snowy plain. " Whenever I walked through the fields, 
I have always thought how lonely you would be here, and 
when I paced these great rooms of an evening, I have 
feared that your time would hang very heavily. The 
town is more than six miles distant, and even there you 
will find but little ; the wretched lending-library will hardly 
satisfy you." * 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



55 



" I will draw," said Lenore ; "I will do fancy work. 
Alas ! I shall find it difficult, Mr. Wohlfart, for I am not 
skilful. I do not care for lace on either cuff or collar ■ 
but mamma, who is accustomed to have everything so 
be&utiful, and in such order ! oh, how sorry I am for 
mamma ! " 

Anton tried to comfort her. 

" We were obliged to leave the capital," cried Lenore ; 
" we should all have perished if we had remained in that 
dreadful entourage. Our own property in other hands, 
cold distant faces on all sides, everywhere false friends, 
smooth words and a pity which maddened. I am de- 
lighted that we are alone here. And even were we to 
suffer cold and hunger, I could bear it better far than the 
shrugging of Madame Werner s shoulders. I have learnt 
to hate my fellow-creatures," said she vehemently. " When 
you have been with papa, I will come down, and then you 
must show me the house, the farm, and the village. I 
want to see where my poor pony is, and what the people 
about look like." 

The Baroness now returned, and led Anton into her 
husband's room. Helpless and confused, the Baron rose 
from his chair. Anton felt the deepest compassion for 
him. He looked at his sunken face, bent figure, and the 
black bandage over his eyes. He warmly declared his ardent 
wish to be of use to him, and begged his indulgence if he 
had in any way erred in judgment hitherto. Then he pro- 
ceeded to tell him how he found the estate, and what had 
been done up to the present time. 

The Baron heard the report almost in silence, only 
making a few short observations in return. But when 



56 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



Anton proceeded, with the utmost delicacy indeed, but still 
with, the precision of a man of business, to state the obliga- 
tions under which the Baron at present lay, and his inade- 
quate means of fulfilling them, the nobleman writhed in 
his chair like a victim on the rack. And Anton keenly 
felt how painful it must needs be to him, to have a stranger 
thus introduced into his most secret affairs, a stranger 
anxious to spare his feelings, it is true, but at every moment 
betraying that anxiety, and so giving fresh offence. The 
Baroness, who stood behind her husband, looked on 
nervously at the attempts he made to control his irritation, 
but at length she waved her hand so significantly, that 
Anton had abruptly to break off his report. 

When he had left the room, the Baron flung himself 
back in the utmost excitement, and exclaimed, " You have 
set a trustee over me." He was perfectly beside himself, 
and the Baroness vainly attempted to compose him. 

Such was Anton's entrance into the family. 

He too returned sadly to his room. From that moment 
he felt convinced that it would hardly be possible to estab- 
lish a good understanding between himself and the Baron. 
He was accustomed, in matters of business, to express him- 
self curtly, and to be promptly understood, and he now 
foresaw long disquisitions on the part of the ladies, suc- 
ceeded probably by no decision at all. Even his position 
with regard to them appeared uncertain. True, the 
Baroness had treated him with the utmost graciousness, 
but still as a stranger. He feared that she would continue 
the great lady, giving just as much of her confidence as 
might be useful to herself, but warding off all intimacy by 
a cold politeness. Even Lenore's friendly voice could not 



DEBIT AND CKEDIT. 



57 



restore his equanimity. They went over the premises 
silently and thoughtfully, like two men of business engaged 
in making an estimate. 

Such as these first days promised, was Anton's hfe for 
the next few months, anxious, monotonous, formal. He 
wrote, kept accounts, and ate alone in his room, and when 
invited to join the family circle, the party was far from a 
cheerful one. The Baron sat there like a lump of ice, a 
check upon all free and animated conversation. 

Formerly Anton used to admire all the accessories of the 
family, the arrangement of their salons, and the elegant 
trifles around. Now, the self-same furniture stood in the 
drawing-room suite — even the little foreign birds had sur- 
vived their winter journey — the same carpets, the same 
worsted work, even the same perfume was there. But now 
the very birds seemed to him rather bores than otherwise, 
and soon nothing about the room interested him, but the 
share he had himself had in putting it in order. 

Anton had brought with him a profound respect for the 
polished tone, the easy conversation, and the graceful forms 
of social intercourse that prevailed in the family circle. 

But crushed and downcast as the Von Rothsattels now 
were, he could not expect the same light-hearted grace that 
had captivated him at Frau von Baldereck's parties. They 
had been torn away from their accustomed circle ; all the 
external influences, and the excitement which keep the 
spirits elastic, and help us to vanquish sorrow, were wanting 
now, and he modestly confessed that he could afford no 
substitute for them. But there was more than this to dis- 
enchant him. A^Tien, after a silent evening, he returned to 
his own room, he often regretted that they took no part in 



58 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



much that interested him, that their culture, in short, was of a 
perfectly different order. And before long, he took the liberty 
of doubting whether their culture was the better of the two. 
Almost all his reading was new to them, and when they 
discussed the newspapers, he marvelled at their ignorance 
of foreign politics. History was by no means a favourite 
study w4th the Baron, and if, for example, he condemned 
the English Constitution, he showed himself, at the same 
time very little acquainted with it. On another evening, 
it came out, to Anton's distress, that the family's views of 
the position of the island of Ceylon widely differed from 
those established by geographers. The Baroness, who was 
fond of reading aloud, revered Chateaubriand, and read 
fashionable novels by lady writers. Anton found Atala 
unnatural, and the novels insipid. In short, he soon dis- 
covered that those with whom he lived contemplated the 
universe from a very different point of view to his own. 
Unconsciously they measured all things by the scale of 
their own class-interests. Whatever ministered to these 
found favour, however unbearable to mankind at large ; 
whatever militated against them was rejected, or at least 
pushed out of sight. Their opinions were often mild, 
sometimes even liberal, but they always seemed to wear 
an invisible helmet, visor up, and to look through the nar- 
row space on the doings of common mortals, and whenever 
they saw anything in these that was displeasing, but 
unalterable, they silently shut down the visor, and isolated 
themselves. The Baron sometimes did this awkwardly, but 
his wife understood to perfection how, by a bewitching 
turn of the hand, to shut out whatever was unwelcome. 
The family belonged to the German church in Neudorf ; 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



59 



but there was no choir there, and no pew near the altar. 
They would have had to sit in the body of the church 
amongst the rustics — that was out of the question. So 
the Baron set up a chapel in the castle, and sent every now 
and then for a minister. Anton seldom made his appear- 
ance at this domestic worship, preferring to ride to Neudorf, 
where he sat by the side of the bailiff amongst the country 
people. 

He had other vexations, too. A wine-merchant's tra- 
veller forced his way on one occasion through sand and 
forest into the very study of the Baron. He was an auda- 
cious fellow, with a great gift of the gab, and a devoted 
lover of races and steeple-chases. He brought with him 
a whole budget of the latest sporting intelligence, and 
bamboozled the Baron into ordering a pipe of port wine. 
Anton looked at the empty purse, cursed the pipe, and 
hurried into the audience-chamber of the Baroness. It re- 
quired a long feminine intrigue to effect the retraction of 
the order given. 

The Baron was displeased with his carriage-horses, which 
were no longer young, and, besides, of a chestnut colour. 
This last peculiarity might, indeed, have been supposed 
immaterial to him now, but it had been an annoyance for 
years, his family having always had a preference for roans ; 
nay, was there not an old distich to the following effect : — 

" Who rides thus through the fray alone ? 
I ween a noble knight, 
The red drops fall from his gallant roan. 
With red is the saddle dight." 

This was supposed to allude to some remote ancestor, 
and on this account the Rothsattels (red-saddles) prized 



60 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



roans above all other horse-iiesh. But as the colour is rare 
in handsome horses, the Baron had never had the good 
luck to meet with them. Now, however, Fate willed that 
a horse-dealer in the district should just bring round a pair ! 
The blind man evinced a delight which much affected the 
ladies. He had them ridden, and driven backwards and 
forwards, carefully felt them all over, took Karl's opinion 
as to their merits, and revolved a plan of pleasantly sur- 
prising the Baroness by their purchase. Karl ran to ad- 
vertise Anton of the impending danger, and he again 
entered the audience- chamber ; but on this occasion he 
met with no favourable hearing. The Baroness, indeed, 
allowed that he was not wrong in theory, but still 
she implored him to let the Baron have his own way. 
At length the new horses were in all secrecy led to their 
stalls, and the purchaser gave, besides the chestnuts and all 
the money he had in his private purse, a promise of letting 
the horse-dealer have, after the next harvest, two hundred 
bushels of oats at an unreasonably low price. Anton and 
Karl, in their zeal for the estate, were highly indignant at 
this when it first came to their knowledge months later. 

The forester had the misfortune not to be an especial 
favourite. The Baroness disliked the abrupt manner of the 
old man, who, in his solitude, had entirely lost the ob- 
sequiousness to which she was accustomed. One evening 
a plan was disclosed of giving him notice, and replacing 
him by a younger man, who might be dressed in livery, 
and serve as a representative huntsman, the family having 
been used to a functionary of this kind on their late estate. 
Anton had some difficulty in concealing his annoyance while 
stating that, in the disturbed state of the district, the ex- 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



61 



perienced man, who was feared by every scapegrace around, 
was of more use than a stranger. Lenore was on his side, 
and the plan was given up, with a look of resignation on 
the part of the Baroness, and an icy silence on that of her 
husband. Both henceforth endured the uncouth old man 
with outward composure, but with visors down. 

These were slight discords, indeed — such as must neces- 
sarily occur when we live with people whose habits of 
thought and action differ from our own ; but it was no 
sign of contentment that Anton kept constantly repeating 
this to himself. Not only did Karl suit him in many ways 
better than the family, but so did the forester, and the 
shepherd too ; and he sometimes felt with pride that he 
was other than they were — that he was one of the people. 
Lenore, too, was not what he had imagined her. He had 
always honoured in her the lady of rank, and felt her cordial 
friendship a favour. But now she ceased to impress him 
as a distinguished person. He intimately knew the pattern 
of all her cuffs and collars, and very plainly saw a small 
rent in her dress which the careless girl herself was long in 
observing. He had read through the few books that she 
had brought with her, and had often in conversation over- 
stepped the limits of her information. Her way of ex- 
pressing herself no longer excited his admiration, and he 
would have been less indignant than of yore if his friend 
Fink had made inquiry as to her sense. She had less infor- 
mation than another girl of his acquaintance, and her tastes 
were not half so cultivated; but hers was a healthy, up- 
right nature, she had quick feelings and noble instincts, 
and oh ! she was beautiful ! That he had always thought 
her, but his tender reverence long wrapped her image round 



62 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



with a sacred halo. It was now, however, when he saw her 
daily in her simple morning-dress, in the everyday moods 
of this working world, that he first felt the full spell of 
her blooming youth. Yet he was often dissatisfied with 
her too. One of the first days after her arrival she had 
anxiously inquired how she could make herself useful in 
the house, and he had told her that her superintendence in 
the kitchen, and exact keeping of accounts, might be of very 
great use indeed. He had ruled an account-book for her, 
and had had the pleasure of teaching her how to make 
entries in it. She threw herself warmly into the new 
pursuit, and ran into the kitchen ten times a day to see 
how Balbette was getting on ; but her calculations were not 
much to be depended upon, and after having for a week con- 
scientiously laboured at the task, some days of sunshine 
came, and then she could not resist accompanying the 
forester on his rounds after game, or riding far beyond the 
boundary of the estate on her little pony, forgetting alike 
the cook and her book-keeping. 

Again, she purposed studying history and learning a 
little English under Anton's superintendence. Anton was 
delighted. But she could not recollect dates, found the 
pronunciation of English impossible, and saimtered ofi" into 
the stable, or went into the room of the bailifi", whose 
mechanical achievements she could watch with the utmost 
interest for hours at a time. One day when Anton came 
to call her to her English lesson, he found her in Karl's 
room, a plane in her hand, working hard at the seat of a 
new sledge, and good-naturedly saying, "Don't take so 
much trouble with me, Wohlfart ; I can learn nothing — I 
have always been a dunce." 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



63 



The suow again lay thick on the ground, and millions of 
ice-crystals glittered in the sunshine on bush and tree. Karl 
had two sledges in order, one a double-seated one, the other 
a running sledge for the young lady, which, with her as- 
sistance, he had painted beautifully. 

At the next morning conference Anton had to announce 
to the Baroness that he must go in the afternoon to Tarow, 
on some police-business. 

" We know the Tarowskis from having met them at the 
Baths," said the Baroness. " We were quite intimate while 
there with Frau von Tarowska and her daughter. I 
earnestly wish that the Baron should have some acquaint- 
ance in the neighbourhood. Perhaps I may be able to pre- 
vail upon him to pay a visit with us to-day. At all events, 
we ladies will avail ourselves of your escort, and make an 
excursion thither." 

Anton gently reminded her of the vanished Bratzky, and 
his own suspicions. 

" They are only suspicions," said the Baroness soothingly ; 
" and there can be no doubt that it is our duty to call. 
Indeed, I cannot believe that Herr von Tarowski had any- 
thing to do with the man's disappearance." 

In the afternoon the two sledges were brought round. The 
Baroness seated herself with her husband in the larger one, 
and Lenore insisted upon driving her own. "Wohlfart 
shall sit behind me on the seat," decided she. 

The Baron whispered to his wife, "Wohlfart!" 

" I cannot allow you to drive alone," calmly replied 
she. " Have no anxiety. He is in your service, besides ; 
there is no great impropriety; and you and I shall be 
together." 



64 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



The little bells sounded merrily across the plain. Lenore 
sat in the highest spirits in her little nutshell of a seat, 
and loudly urged on her horse. She often turned round, 
and her laughing face looked so lovely under her dark cap, 
that Anton's whole heart went out towards her. Her green 
veil fluttered in the wind, and brushed across his cheeks, 
hung over his face, and concealed the view. The next 
moment his breath moved the ribbon round her neck, and 
he saw that only that slight silken covering lay between 
his hand and her white throat and golden hair. Absorbed 
in this contemplation, he could hardly resist the delight of 
gently passing his fur glove over her hood, when a hare 
jumped from its form close to him, shaking its ears threaten- 
ingly, and significantly flinging its legs in the air. Anton 
understood the friendly hint, and drew back the fur glove ; 
and the hare, pleased to have done a good turn, galloped 
off over the plain. 

Our hero turned his thoughts into another direction. 
" This white road bears no trace of man's presence, no slides, 
no footprints ; there is no life around to disturb the silent 
sleep of nature. We are travellers penetrating into regions 
hitherto untrodden. One tree is like another, the snow 
expanse is boundless, the silence of the grave around, and 
the laughing sunshine above. I wish we were going on 
thus the whole day through." 

"I am so glad to drive you for once," said Lenore, bend- 
ing back, and giving him her hand. 

Anton so far forgot the hare, as to imprint a kiss upon 
her glove. 

" It is Danish leather," laughed Lenore ; " do not give 
yourself the trouble." 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



" Here is a hole," said Anton, prepared to renew th(! 
attempt. 

" You are very attentive to-day," cried Lenore, slowly 
withdrawing her hand. " The mood suits you charm- 
ingly, Wohlfart." 

The fur glove was again stretched out to detain the hand 
withdrawn. At that moment two crows, on the nearest 
tree, began a violent dispute, screamed, croaked, and flew 
about Anton's head. 

"Begone, you wretched creatures!" thought Anton in 
his excitement ; " you shall not disturb me any more." 

But Lenore looked full and frankly at him. " I am 
not sure, either, that you ought to be so attentive," said 
she gravely. " You should not kiss my hand, for I have 
no wish to return the compliment, and what is right for 
the one, must be right for the other. Huzza ! my horse, 
forward !" 

" I am curious to know how these Poles will receive us," 
said Anton, resuming their former conversation. 

"They cannot be otherwise than friendly," returned 
Lenore. " We lived for weeks with Frau von Tarowska, 
and took every excursion together. She was the most 
elegant of all the ladies at the baths, and her daughters, too, 
made a great impression, by their distinguished bearing. 
They are very lovely and refined." 

" He has eyes, though, exactly like those of the 
forester's fox. I would not trust him a yard out of my 
sight." 

" I have made myself very smart to-day," laughed Lenore, 
again turning round ; " for the girls are, as I said, lovely, 
and the Poles shall not say that we Germans look ill 

VOL. IT. E 



66 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



beside them. How do you like my dress, Wohlfart?" 
She turned back the flap of her pelisse. 

" I shall admire no other half so much ! " Anton replied. 

" You true-hearted Mr. AVohlfart I " cried Lenore, again 
reaching out her hand. Alas ! the warning hare, the crows, 
would have been powerless to break the spell which attracted 
the fur glove to the Danish leather ; something stronger 
must interfere. 

When Anton stretched out his hand for the third time, 
he marvelled to see it rise against his will, and describe a 
circle in the air, while he found himself outstretched in the 
snow. Looking round in amazement, he saw Lenore sitting 
by the overturned sledge, while the horse stood still, and 
laughed after his fashion. The lady had looked too much 
at her companion, and too little at the way, and so they 
had been upset. Both jumped up lightly. Anton raised 
the sledge, and they were soon galloping onwards once 
more. But the sledge-idyl was ended. Lenore looked 
steadily before her, and Anton occupied himself in shaking 
the snow out of his sleeves. 

The sledges turned into a spacious court. A long, one- 
storied farm-house, wliitewa^ed, and roofed with shingles, 
looked upon the wooden stables. Anton sprang out, and 
asked a servant in livery for the dwelling of Herr von 
Tarowski. 

" This is the Palace," replied the Pole, with a low 
obeisance, and proceeded to help the ladies out of the 
sledges. Lenore and the Baroness exchanged looks of 
amazement. They entered a dirty hall ; several bearded 
domestics rushed up to them, eagerly tore off their wraps, 
and tlirew a low door open. A numerous party was 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



67 



assembled in the large sitting-room. A tall figure in black 
silk came forward to meet them, and received them with 
the best gi-ace in the world. So did the daughters — 
slender, graceful girls, with their mother's eyes and manners. 
Several of the gentlemen were introduced — Herr von this, 
Herr von that, all elegant-looking men in evening dress. 
At last the master of the house came in — his cunning face 
beaming with cordial hospitality, and his pair of fox's eyes 
looking perfectly harmless. The reception was faultless : 
on all sides the pleasant ease of perfect self-possession. The 
Baron and the ladies were treated as welcome additions, 
and Anton too had his share of attention. His busiuess 
was soon transacted ; and Herr von Tarow smilingly re- 
minded him that they had met before. 

" That rogue of an inspector got off, after all," said he ; 
'* but do not be uneasy, he will not escape his fate." 

"I hope not," replied Anton; "nor yet his abettors." 

Herr von Tarow' s eyes tried hard to look dove-like as he 
went on to say, " The fellow must be concealed somewhere 
about." 

" Possibly somewhere very near," said Anton, casting a 
significant glance at the mean-looking buildings around. 

Our hero looked in vain amongst the gentlemen present 
for the stranger he had previously seen, and charitably 
attributed to him good reasons for wishing to remain unseen 
by German eyes. However, to make up for him, there was 
another gentleman of a striking aspect, who seemed to be 
treated with especial respect. " They come and go, assemble 
and disperse," thought Anton, "just as the landlord said; 
there is a whole band of them to feel anxious about — not 
merely a few individuals." At that moment the stranger 



68 



DEBIT AND CRLDiT. 



came up, and Ijegaii a coui'teous couversation. However 
unstudied the speaker's manner might appear, yet Anton 
remarked that he led the conversation, with the view of 
extracting his opinions and feelings as a German. This 
made him reserved ; and the Pole finding him so, soon lost 
his interest in him, and turned to the ladies. 

Anton had now time to look about him. A Vienna 
pianoforte stood amid furniture evidently made by the 
village carpenter, and near the sofa, a tattered carpet was 
spread over the black boards. The ladies sat on velvet 
seats around a worn-out table. The mistress of the house 
and her grown-up daughters had elegant Parisian toilettes ; 
but a side door being casually opened, Anton caught a sight 
of some children runnmg about in the next room, so scantily 
clothed, that he heartily pitied them. They, however, did 
not seem to feel the cold, and were screaming and fighting 
like little demons. 

A fine damask table-cloth vv^as now laid on the unsteady 
table, and a silver tea-kettle put down. The conversation 
went on most pleasantly. Graceful, French hon mots and 
animated exclamations in melodious Polish, blended occa- 
sionally with an admixture of quiet German. The sudden 
bursts of laughter, the gestures and the eagerness, all 
showed Anton that he was among foreigners. They spoke 
rapidly, and excitement shone in their eyes, and reddened 
their cheeks. 

They were a more excitable people, more elastic, and 
more impressionable than his countrymen. Anton re- 
marked with amazement, how perfectly Lenore seemed in 
her element among them. Her face, too, grew flushed, she 
laughed and gesticulated like the rest ; and her eyes looked, 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



G9 



he thought, boldly into the courteous faces of the gentlemen 
present. The same smile, the same hearty natural manner 
that she had enchanted him with, when alone, she now 
lavished upon strangers, who had acted as highwaymen 
against her father s interests. This displeased him to the 
utmost. Then the saloon, so incongruous in its arrange- 
ments, the carpet dii'ty and torn, the children in the next 
room barefooted, and the master of the house the secret 
patron of a dishonest rogue, and perhaps worse still ! 
Anton contented himself with coLJly looking on, and said 
as little as he possibly coidd. 

At last a young gentleman struck a few chords on 
the piano, and all sprang up, and voted for a dance. The 
lady of the house rang, four wild-looking men rushed into 
the room, snatched up the grand piano, and carried it 
off. The whole party swept through the hall to an 
apartment opposite. Anton was tempted to rub his eyes 
as he entered it. It was an empty room, with rough-cast 
walls, benches around them, and a frightful old stove in a 
comer. In the middle, linen was hung on lines to dry. 
Anton could hardly suppose they meant to dance here. 
But the linen was torn down by one servant in tlie twink- 
ling of an eye, while another ran to the stove, and was 
equally expeditious in blowing up the fire, and in a very 
few moments, six couples stood up for a quadrille. As 
there was a lady wanting, a young Count, with a black 
beard like velvet, and a wondrously beautiful pair of blue 
eyes, bound his cambric handkerchief round his arm, and 
with a graceful courtesy, announced himself a lady. He 
was immediately led out by another gentleman. Their 
danciiig, in spite of its fashionable character, betrayed at 



70 DEBIT AND CREDIT. 

times the fire and impetuosity of their race. Lenore threw 
herself into it, heart and soul. 

Meanwhile, the Baroness was conversing with great ani- 
mation with her host, and Frau von Tarow made it her 
occupation to amuse the Baron. Here, then, were all the 
social forms, the keen enjoyment of the present, which 
Anton had so often admired, but now they only excited a 
cold smile. It did not seem to him creditable, that a 
German family should be on terms of such intimacy with 
recent enemies — people who were probably at this very 
time plotting against them and their country. Accordingly, 
when the first dance was over, and Lenore passing him, 
asked why he did not dance with her, he replied : " I am 
every moment expecting to see Bratzky's face appear in 
some corner of the room." 

" We will not think of him at present," returned Lenore, 
turning away offended. 

Dance followed dance, the heads of the young people 
swam, their curls hung down damp, and relaxed with their 
exertions. Another rush of bearded domestics, and iced 
champagne was brought in. The dancers tossed it off stand- 
ing, and immediately a cry rose on all sides for a Polish 
mazurka — the national dance. Now, then, the dresses 
fluttered wide and high, the dancers positively flew along, 
the ladies were tossed like balls from one partner's arm to 
another ; and Lenore, alas ! in the midst of it all. 

Anton stood near the distinguished Pole carrying on a 
spiritless conversation, and coldly listened to the praises the 
former liberally bestowed on the German dancer. The rapid 
movements and strong excitement, that were natural to the 
Polish girls, made Lenore wild, and, Anton regretted to see, 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



71 



imfeminine ; and his glance wandered away from her to 
the rough walls, the dusty stove, in which an immense fagot 
was burning, and the ceiling, from which long grey cobwebs 
hung down. 

It was late before the Baroness broke up the party. The 
furs were brought in, the guests were wrapped therein, and 
the little bells sounded again cheerily over the snowy scene. 
But Anton was glad that Lenore now drove her father, and 
that he had to take care of the Baroness. Silently he guided 
the sledge, thinking all the while that another whom he 
knew would never have swung to and fro in the mazes of 
the mazurka, beneath the fluttering cobwebs, and in the 
house of her country's foes. 



72 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



CHAPTER IV. 



MR. ITZIG was now regularly established in business. 

Whoever visited him passed through a much fre- 
quented hall, and went up a not entu'ely clean staircase, at 
the head of which was a white door, on which a great plate 
revealed the name of "V. Itzig." This door was closed. 
It had a very massive china handle, and was altogether 
much more suggestive and imposing than Ehrenthal's 
had been. Passing through this door, the visitor entered 
an empty lobby, in which a shrewd youth spent the day, 
as half-porter, half-errand-boy ; and a spy besides. This 
youth differed from the original Itzig only by a species of 
shabby gentility in his appearance. He wore his master's 
old clothes ; shining silk waistcoats, and a coat a little too 
large for him. He showed, in short, that the new firm was 
more advanced in matters of taste and toilette than the 
in many respects commonplace establishment of Ehrenthal. 
The visitor, advancing through the lobby, was received by 
Mr. Itzig in one of two small rooms, of which the first 
contained little furniture, but two strikingly handsome 
lamps — a temporary security for the unpaid interest of a 
note-of-hand. The second was his sleeping apartment ; in 
it were a simple bed, a long sofa, and a large round 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



73 



min'or, with a broad gilt frame, an acquisition from the 
secret stores of the worthy Pinkus. Itzig himself was 
marvellously changed, and on dark days, in his dindy 
lighted office, he might really — looked at from a little dis- 
tance — have almost passed for a gentleman. His haggard 
face had filled out, his great freckles had faded aAvay, and 
his red hair, through much pomade and skilful brushing, 
had grown darker, and more manageable. He had still a 
preference for black, but his clothes were new now, and 
fitted him better, — for Mr. Itzig had acquired a taste for 
externals ; he no longer grudged himself good food, nay, he 
even allowed himself wine. Yet, insignificant as his new 
establishment was, Itzig only used it at night, and during 
ofiice-hours. His inclinations still ]ed him to his old haunts, 
at Lobel Pinkus's. Thus he led a double life ; that of a 
respectable man of business in his newly-painted ofiice, 
beneath the glare of his solar lamps ; and when in the cara- 
vanserai, which fitted his taste far better — a modest sort of 
life, with red woollen curtains, and a four-cornered chest for 
a sofa. Perhaps this shelter suited him so exactly, because 
of his uncontested influence over the master of the house. 
Pinkus, to his shame be it spoken, had sunk into a mere 
tool of Veitel's, and his wife, too, was devoted in her alle- 
giance to the rising man. 

On the present occasion, Itzig sat carelessly on his sofa, 
and smoked a pipe with an amber mouth-piece. He was 
completely the gentleman, and expected a visitor of dis- 
tinction. The bell rang, the servant flew to the door, and 
a sharp voice was heard. Next there arose a dispute in 
the lobby, which moved Veitel to shut up his writing- 
table in all haste, and to put the key into his pocket. 



74 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



" N"ot at home, indeed ! He is at home, you wretched 
greenhorn you !" cried the sharp voice to the guardian of 
the door. Next some resisting body was heard to be 
thrust on one side. Veitel buried himself in an old mort- 
gage. The door opened, and Hippus appeared, red-faced 
and much ruffled. He had never looked more like an old 
raven. 

" So you deny yourself, do you ? You tell that grub 
yonder to send away old friends ! Of course, you are 
become quite genteel, you fool ! Did one ever meet with 
such barefaced ingratitude ? Because the fellow has 
swindled himself into two fine rooms, his former associates 
are no longer good enough for him ! But you have 
reckoned without your host, my boy, as far as I am con- 
cerned, I am not to be got rid of so easily." 

Veitel looked at the angry little man before him vdth an 
expression of countenance by no means friendly. 

" Why did you make a scene with the young man ?" he 
said coldly ; "he has done nothing wrong. I was expect- 
ing a visitor on business, and I gave orders to exclude all 
strangers. How could I know that you would be coming 1 
Have we not settled that you should only visit me in the 
evening 1 Why do you disturb me during my business 
hours f ' 

" Your business hours ! you young gosling, with your 
shell still hanging about you," cried Hippus, still more 
irate, and threw himself on the sofa. " Your business 
hours !" he continued with infinite contempt ; " any hours 
are good enough for your business ? " 

" You are drunk again, Hippus," answered Veitel, 
thoroughly roused. " How often have I told you that I 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



75 



will have nothing to do with you when you come out of 
the spirit-shop ?" 

"Indeed!" cried Hippus ; "you son of a witch, my 
visit is at all times an honour to you. I drunk !" he 
hiccupped out ; " and with what, you jack-pudding you ? 
How is a man to get drunk," he screamed out, " when he 
has not wherewithal to pay for a glass ?" 

" I knew that he was without money again," said 
Veitel in exasperation. " I gave you a dollar quite lately, 
but you are a perfect sponge. It is a pity to waste a 
farthing upon you." 

" You will prove, though, that it is not at all a pity," 
answered the old man tauntingly ; " you will give me ten 
dollars here on the spot." 

" That I will not," cried Veitel. " I am sick of supply- 
ing you. You know our agreement ; you are only to have 
money given you when you do something for me in return. 
And now you are not in a condition either to read or 
write." 

" I am always good enough for you and such as you, 
even if I had had a ten times better breakfast," said the 
old man more calmly. " Give me what you have got for 
me to do. You are become a covetous rascal, but I'll put 
up with you. I will forgive your having denied yourself ; 
I will forgive your having become a presumptuous ass — 
making a show with lamps that were meant for your 
betters ; and I will not deprive you of my advice, provided, 
be it understood, I duly get my honorarium. And so we 
will make peace, my son. Now, tell me what devilry you 
have in hand 1 " 

Veitel pushed a thick parchment towards him, and said. 



76 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



" First of all, you must look over that, write me out an 
abstract of it, and tell me what you think of it. It has 
been offered me for sale. Now, however, I am expecting 
some one, so you must go into the other room, sit down at 
the table, and get through your task. When it is done 
we will talk about the money." 

Mr. Hippus took the heavy deed under his arm, and 
steered towards the door. 

" To-day I am going to oblige you again, because you 
are a good boy," said he affectionately, lifting his hand to 
pat Veitel on the cheek. 

Veitel tolerated the caress, and was going to shut the 
door, when the drunken old man turned round once more, 
and inquired with a cunning leer — " So you expect some 
one, my child ? Whom do you expect, little Itzig ? Is it 
a lad or a lady 

" It is a money matter," said Veitel, shrugging his 
shoulders. 

" A money matter !" repeated Hippus, with tender ap- 
probation of his associate. " Ay, you are great in them — 
an accomplished swindler ! Truly he who gets money 
from you is lost ; it were better for him to jump into the 
water at once, though water is a despicable element, you 
confounded little swindler you !" And raising his head, 
he fixed his swimming eyes aff'ectionately on Veitel. 

" And yet you yourself are come to get money from 
me !" replied Veitel with a forced smile. 

" Yes, I am determined ! " said Hippus, stammering. 
" I am not flesh and blood ! I am Hippus ! I am 
Death ! '' and he tried to laugh intelligently. 

The door-bell rang. Veitel desired him to keep quiet, 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



77 



shut the door upon him, took up his amber pipe, and 
awaited his visitor. 

A sword was heard to clatter in the lobby — a hussar 
officer came in. Eugene Rothsattel had become a little 
older since the last winter, his fine face was more haggard, 
and he had a blue ring round his eyes. He put on an 
appearance of indifference, which did not deceive Mr. Itzig 
for a single second, for behind that mask his experienced 
glance detected the fever peculiar to hard-pressed debtors. 

" Mr Itzig ?" inquired the officer de haut en has. 

" Such is my name," said Veitel, rising carelessly from 
the sofa. Eugene looked at him uneasily. This was the 
very man against whom his father had been warned, and 
now fate had driven him into the same snare. " I have 
to pay a debt in the course of the next few days to cer- 
tain agents," began the lieutenant, "gentlemen of your 
acquaintance. When I proposed to hold a consultation 
with them, I was informed by both that they had sold 
their claims to you." 

" I bought them unwillingly," replied Itzig. " I am 
not fond of having anything to do with military men. 
Here are two notes-of-hand, one for eleven hundred, and 
the other for eight hundred, making a total of nineteen 
hundred dollars. Do you recognise these signatures as 
yours V he coldly inquired, producing the documents ; 
" and do you acknowledge nineteen hundi'ed to be the 
sum borrowed by you ?" 

" I suppose it must be about that," said the lieutenant 
reluctantly. 

" I ask whether you acknowledge that to be the sum 
that you have to pay me on these notes-of-hand V 



73 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



" In the devil's name, yes !" cried the lieutenant. " 1 
own the debt, though I did not receive the half of it in 
cash." 

Veitel locked up the papers in his desk, and, with a 
shrug of his shoulders, said ironically, " At all events I 
have paid the whole sum to the parties herein named. 
Accordingly I shall summon you to pay me to-morrow and 
the next day." 

The officer was silent for a while, and a flush slowjy 
overspread his sunken cheeks. At last, after a hard 
struggle, he began : " I beg of you, Mr. Itzig, to give me 
a little more time." 

Veitel took up his amber pipe, and leisurely turned it 
round. " I can give you no further credit," said he. 

" Come, Itzig, be reasonable," said the officer with forced 
familiarity. I shall veiy probably soon be able to pay you." 

" You will have as little money in a few weeks time as 
you have now," replied Veitel rudely. 

" I am ready to write an I. 0. U. for a larger sum if 
you will have patience." 

" I never enter into any transactions of the kind," lied 
Veitel. 

" I will i^rociu-e you an acknowledgment of the debt 
from my father." 

" The Baron Rothsattel would obtain as little credit with 
me as yourself." 

The lieutenant angrily struck the floor with his sword : 
" And supposing I do not pay?" he broke out; *' you know 
that I am not legally compelled to do so." 

" I know," quietly replied Veitel. '• Will you pay to- 
morrow and the next day?" 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



79 



" I cannot !" exclaimed Eugene in despair. 
" Then take care of the coat on your back," said Veitel, 
turning away. 

" Wohlfart was right to warn me against you," cried 

Eugene, beside himself. " You are an obdurate ■ ," he 

suppressed the last word. 

" Speak your mind freely," said Itzig, " no one hears you. 
Your words are like the fire in my stove, it crackles now, 
in an hour it will be burnt to ashes. What you say to 
me in private, the people in the street will say to you in 
three days' time if you do not pay," 

Eugene turned away with a curse. On reacliing the 
door he stood still for a moment, then rushed down 
stairs, 

Veitel looked round triumphantly. " The son as well as 
the father ! He, too, is safely noosed," said he to himself ; 
" he can never procure the money. There is an end of the 
Rothsattels, and their Wohlfart will not be able to sustain 
them. When I am married to Rosalie, Ehrenthal's mort- 
gages will be mine. That will be the time, too, for finding 
the vanished notes-of-hand among my father-in-law's papers. 
Then I shall have the Baron completely in my power, and 
the estate will be mine," 

After this soliloquy he opened the door that had shut out 
IVIr, Hippus from the distinguished visitor — the sunken 
from the sinking — and he found the little advocate fast 
asleep over the deed. Itzig looked at him with hearty 
contempt, and said, " He grows burdensome. He said he 
was death ; I wish he were dead, and I freed from him," 
Then roughly shaking up the old man he screamed out to 
him, " You are fit for nothing but to sleep ; why must 



80 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



you come here to snore ? Go liome, I will give you the 
deed when you are sober." 

The advocate accordingly reeled away, promising to 
return the following afternoon. Itzig proceeded to brush 
his silk hat with enviable dexterity, he then put on his best 
coat, gave his hair its most graceful curve, and went to the 
house of his antagonist, Ehrenthal. As he entered the hall 
he cast a shy glance at the ofFice-door, and hurried on to the 
staircase. But he stopped on the lowest step. " There he 
is, sitting again in the office," said he, listening. " I hear 
him mutter; he often mutters so when he is alone. I will 
venture in, perhaps I can make something of him." So he 
stepped slowly to the door and listened again — then taking 
heart he opened it suddenly. In the dimly-lighted room 
sat a stooping figure in a leathern chair, a shapeless hat on 
its head. The figure kept constantly nodding, and mut- 
tering unintelligible words. How changed was Hirsch 
Ehrenthal in the course of the past year ! When he last 
drove over the Baron's estate, he was a stout respectable- 
looking man, a fresh well-preserved man, who knew how to 
stick in his breast-pin to the best advantage, and cut a 
figure in ladies' eyes. Now the head that was constantly 
nodding in nervous debility, was that of an old man, and 
the beard that hung down from his furrowed face had been 
untrimmed for weeks. He was a picture of that most 
lamentable decay, when the rnind precedes the body on the 
way to second childhood. 

The agent stood at the door and looked in dismay at his 
former master. Then advancing nearer he said, " I wish 
to speak to you, Mr. Ehrenthal." 

The old man continued to nod his head, and answered in 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



81 



a trembling voice : " Hirsch Elircntlial is my name, what 
have you to say to me 

" I wish to speak to you on important business," con- 
tinued Itzig. 

" I hear," returned Ehrenthal without looking up ; " if 
the business be important, why do you not speak 

" Do you know me, Hirsch Ehrenthal 1 " said Itzig, bend- 
ing down and raising his voice. 

The man in the leathern chair looked at him with 
languid eyes, and at length recognised him. He got up in 
all haste, and stood, his head still nodding, with a glance 
full of hatred and teiTor in his eyes. " What do you want 
here in my office !" cried he with a quivering voice. " How 
can you come before me 1 Get out, man ! get out ! " 

Itzig remained stationary. "Don't scream so, I am not 
doing anything to you, I only want to speak to you on im- 
portant subjects, if you will be calm as a man of your years 
should be." 

" It is Itzig," murmured the old man ; " he wants to 
speak on important subjects, and I am to be calm. How 
can I be calm," screamed he again, " when I see you before 
me 1 You are my enemy ; you have ruined me here and 
ruined me there ; you have been to me like the evil spirit 
with the sword, on which hangs the drop of gall. I opened 
my mouth, you pierced me with your sword, the gall has 
reached my heart : I needs must tremble when I see you." 

" Be quiet," said Itzig ; " and when you are so, listen 
to me." 

" Is his name Itzig ?" mumbled the old man to himself. 
" His name is Itzig, but the dogs bark at him as he walks 
tlirougb the streets. I will not see you," he again ex- 

VOL. II. F 



82 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



claimed. " Get out ; I loathe the sight of you — I would 
rather have to do with a spider than with you." 

To this Veitel replied in a resigned voice, " What has 
happened, Ehrenthal, has happened, and it's no use talking 
of it. You behaved unkindly to me, and I acted against 
you ; both are true." 

" He ate every Sabbath at my table," growled the old 
man. 

" If you remember that," continued Itzig, " why, so will 
I. True, I have eaten at your table, and on that account 
I am sorry to be on bad terms with you. I have always 
felt a great attachment to your family." 

"You have shown your attachment, young Itzig," con- 
tinued the old man. "You are he who came into my 
house, and killed me before I am laid in my grave. 

"What nonsense are you talking?" continued Yeitel 
impatiently. " Why do you always speak as if you were 
dead, and I the evil spirit with the sword ! I am here, 
and I wish your prosperous life, and not your death. I 
will so contrive that you shaU yet occupy a good position 
among our people, and that they who pass you in the 
street shall again take ofif their hats to you, as they did 
before Hirscli Ehrenthal became childish." 

Ehrenthal mechanically took off his hat and sat down 
again. His hair had grown white. 

" There ought to be friendship between you and me," 
continued Veitel persuasively ; " and your business ought 
to be as mine. I have sent you more than one man of our 
connexion, and have told you my wishes through him, and 
Mrs. Ehrenthal, your wife, has told you them too. I am 
become a man who can rank with the best men of business ; 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



83 



I can show you a safe capital larger than you imagine, 
AVhy should we not put our money together ? If you will 
give me your daughter Rosalie to wife, I shall be able to 
act for you as your son-in-law." 

Old Ehrenthal looked at the suitor with a glance, in 
which something of his old cunning shone through his half- 
wittedness. " If you want my daughter Rosalie," replied 
he, " hear the only question I have to put : What wiU 
you give me if I give you Rosalie ?" 

" I will reckon it up to you at once," cried Veitel. 

"You can reckon up a good deal, I daresay," said 
Ehrenthal, declining the statement ; " but I will only re- 
quire one thing : if you can give me back my son Bernhard, 
you may have my daughter. If you cannot bring my 
Bernhard out of the grave, so long as I have any voice left 
I shall say, ' Get out with you ! get out of my office !' Get 
out !" screamed he in a sudden transport of rage, clenching 
both fists against the suitor. Veitel quietly retreated into 
the shadow cast by the door, the old man sank down 
again in his chair, and threatened and muttered to himself. 
Itzig watched him till his words again became unintel- 
ligible, when he shrugged his shoulders and left the room. 

As he went up stairs to pay his visit to the ladies, he 
repeated the movement occasionally, to express his utter 
contempt of the poor imbecile below. He rang the bell, 
and was admitted by the untidy cook with a familiar smile. 

Meanwhile, Eugene drifted helplessly from one officer's 
room to another. He went to Feroni's ; the oysters were 
flavourless, the Burgundy tasted like ink. Again he 
paced up and down the streets, the sweat of anguish on his 
brow. At last he sat down in a confectioner's shop, tired 



84 



DEBIT A^D CREDIT. 



to death, and revolved every possible contingency. If 
Wohlfart were only here ! But there was no time to write 
to him. These agents had put him off' from day to day ; 
it was only last night that they had both finally referred 
him to Mr. Itzig. But though it was too late to write to 
Anton, might not this obligiag friend have some acquaint- 
ance in the town 1 In recommending young Stui'm, Anton 
had told him that the future bailiff's father was a safe 
man, not without substance. Perhaps he could get money 
from the father of a hussar now in the service of his 
family, if, mdeed, the old man had any money. That was 
the question. 

He turned to the Directory, and found John Sturm, 
porter, Island Street, No. 17. He di'ove thither in a 
drosky. A loud " Come in " was the reply to his hurried 
knock. The sore-pressed officer crossed the threshold of 
the porter. Father Sturm sat alone with his can of beer, 
a small daily paper in his hand. A hussar ! " cried he, 
remaining seated through very astonishment. The officer 
on his part was astonished at the colossal form now con- 
templating him, and both were silent. 

"To be sure 1" said the giant. " A hussar of my Karl's 
regiment — the coat is the same, the epaulettes the same ; 
you are welcome, comrade !" and he rose. Then for the 
first time perceiving the metal of the epaulettes, he ex- 
claimed, " As I live, an officer ! " 

" My name is Eugene von Rothsattel," began the lieu- 
tenant. " I am an acquaintance of Mr. Wohlfart." 

" Of Mr. Wohlfixrt and of my son Karl," said Sturm 
eagerly ; "sit down, sir, it is an exceeding pleasure and 
honour to me to see you." He brought out a chair and 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



85 



thumped it down in his zeal, so as to make the door shake 
again. 

Eugene was going to sit down. " Not yet," said Sturm ; 
" I will first wipe it that the uniform take no harm. Since 
my Karl went away, things are a little dusty here." 

He wiped and polished up the chair for his visitor. 
Now, sir, allow me to sit opposite you. You bring me 
tidings of my little fellow ?" 

" Only," replied Eugene, " that he is well in health, and 
that my father much values his services." 

"Indeed!" cried Sturm, smiling all over, and rapping 
on the table so as to create a small earthquake in the room, 
" I knew, sir, that jom father the Baron would be satisfied 
with him ; I would have given him a bond for that on 
stamped paper. He was a clever lad, even when he was 
that high," indicating with his hand a degree of smallness 
that belongs to no human being, even in the earliest days 
of its visible life. 

"But can he do anything?" he anxiously inquired, 
^' in spite of — ^you know what ?" — he held out his great 
fingers, and made confidential signs with them. " First 
and middle finger ; it was a great misfortune, sir." 

Eugene now called to mind the unlucky accident. " He 
has got over it," said he, rather embarrassed at the part the 
l^atemal aftections of the giant made him play. " I came 
here to ask a favour." 

" A favour ?" laughed Sturm ; " ask away, young Baron, 
that is a simple matter. Any one from the house where 
my Karl is bailiff, has a right to ask a favour from old 
Sturm. That is my view of the case." 

" Well, then, Mr. Sturm, to make a long story short, I 



86 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



am called upon to make a heavy payment to-morrow, and 
I want the money for it. The debt has come upon me 
suddenly, and I have no time to communicate with my 
father. I know no one in this town to whom I can 
turn with so much confidence as to the father of our 
bailiff." 

Sturm bent forward, and in his delight, clapped the 
officer on the knee. " That was nobly said. You are a 
gentleman, who keeps to his own house, and does not go 
to strangers for what he can have from his own people. 
You want money 1 My Karl is bailiff at your father the 
Baron's ; my Karl has some money, so it is all right. How 
much do you want ? - A hundred dollars 1 Two hundred 
dollars 1 The money is there." 

" I can hardly take courage, Mr. Sturm, to tell you the 
amount of the sum," said Eugene, embarrassed ; " it is 
nineteen hundred dollars." 

" Nineteen hundred dollars !" repeated the giant in amaze- 
ment ; " that's a capital, that's a firm, that's what people 
call a fortune." 

" So it is, Mr. Sturm," said Eugene sadly. " And smce 
you are so friendly towards me, I must own to you that I 
am heartily grieved that it should be so much. I am ready 
to give you a note-of-hand for it, and to pay any interest 
you may like." 

" Do you know what," said Sturm, after some cogita- 
tion, " we will say nothing about the interest, you can 
settle that with my Karl. But as to the note-of-hand, that 
is a good thought of yours. A note-of-hand is pleasant, 
on account of the chances of life and death. You and 
I would have no need of such a thing ; but I may die 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



87 



before my time. That would not matter, for yovi, who 
know of the transaction, would still be there. But then 
you might die, which, however, I have no fear of — quite 
the contrary ; but still such a thing might be, and then 
my Karl ought to have your signature, so that he might 
come forward and say, " My poor young master has writ- 
ten this, therefore pay." 

"You will then have the kindness to lend me the 
money 

" There is no kindness in it," said Sturm ; " it is but 
my duty, as the thing is done regularly, and my dwarf is 
your bailiff." 

Eugene was moved as he looked at the giant's laughing 
face. " But, Mr, Sturm, I want the money to-morrow." 

" Of course," replied Sturm ; " that is just what suits 
me. Come, Baron, — this way." He took up the candle, 
and led him into his bedroom. " Excuse things being 
so disorderly, but I am a lone man, and at my work all 
day long. Look here, this is my money-box." He drew 
out the iron chest. "It is safe from thieves," said he with 
self-complacency, " for no one in the town can stir it but I, 
and no one can open it, for the lock is the masterpiece of 
the father of my dear departed wife. Few besides me can 
lift the lid, and even if many of them came, they would 
find it too tough a job for them. So you may believe that 
the money is safe here from rogues and swindlers and the 
like," said he triumphantly. He was about to put the key 
into the lock. " Stop," he suddenly cried ; " one word 
more. I trust you. Baron, as I do my Karl — that of course, 
but just answer me this question : You really are the young 
Baron?" 



88 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



Now it was Eugene's turn to smile, and putting his 
hand into his pocket, he said, " Here is my patent." 

" Ah, many thanks ! " cried Sturm, carefully looking 
through the paper, and reverentially reading the names, then 
bowing, and giving it back with two fingers in the most 
respectful manner possible. 

" And here," continued Eugene ; "I happen to have a 
letter of Wohlfart's in my pocket." 

" Of course," cried Sturm, looking at the address, " that 
is his living hand." 

" And here is his signature." 

" Your devoted Wohlfart," read the giant ; " and if he 
writes that, you may be sure that it is true. So now the 
business is settled," said he, opening the box. " Here is 
the money. So, then, nineteen hundred dollars." He 
took five great rolls out of the chest, held them comfort- 
ably in one hand, and gave them to Eugene. Here are a 
thousand." 

Eugene tried in vain to hold them. 

" Just so," said the porter ; " I will bring them down 
to the carriage. The rest I must give you in promissory- 
notes. These are worth a little less than a hundred dollars, 
as of course you know." 

" It does not signify," said Eugene. 

" No," said the giant. " It can be mentioned in the 
note-of-hand. And now the matter is all settled." He 
closed the chest, and pushed it under the bed. 

Eugene re-entered the little parlour with a lightened 
heart. 

" Now, then, I will caiTy the money to the carriage," 
cried Sturm. 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



89 



" The note-of-liand lias yet to be written." 

" True," nodded the giant ; " we must do things in 
order. Just see, sir, whether you can write with my coarse 
pen. If I had known that I should have such a visitor, 
I would have brought a better one with me from Mr. 
Schroter's." 

Eugene wrote out an acknowledgment, while Sturm sat 
by his can of beer, and looked at him in admiration. Then 
he accompanied him to the carriage, and said at leave- 
taking, " Greet my little lad heartily, and Mr. Wohlfart 
too. I have promised Karl to come to him at Christmas, 
on account of the Christmas-tree. But my health is no 
longer as good as it should be. I am forty-nine past ! " 

A short time afterwards, Eugene, writing to Anton, 
casually mentioned that he had borrowed nineteen hundred 
dollars from father Sturm, on a note-of-hand. "Try to 
arrange the matter for me," said the letter ; " of course my 
father must know nothing of it. A good-hearted foolish 
fellow that old Sturm. Think of something nice for his 
son the hussar, something that I can bring him when I pay 
you a visit." 

Anton flung down the letter indignantly. " There is no 
helping them ; the principal w^as right," said he. " He has 
squandered the money in golden bracelets for a mercenary 
(/anseuse, or at dice with his lawless comrades, and he now 
pays his usurer's bills with the hard earnings of an honest 
working-man." 

He called Karl into his room. " I have often been 
sorry to have brought you into this confusion, but to-day 
I deeply feel how wTong it was. I am ashamed to tell 
you what has happened. Young Rothsattel has taken 



90 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



advantage of your father's good-heartedness, to borrow from 
him nineteen hundred dollars !" 

"Nineteen hundred dollars from my governor!" cried 
Karl. " Had my Goliath so much money to lend ? He 
always pretended that he did not know how to economize !" 

" Part of your inheritance is given away in return for a 
worthless note-of-hand, and what makes it still more aggra- 
vating, is the coolness of the thoughtless borrower. Have 
you then not heard of it from your father ?" 

" From him !" cried Karl ; " I should think not. I am 
only sorry that you should be so vexed. I implore you 
not to make any disturbance about it. You best know 
how many clouds hang over this house ; do not increase the 
anxiety of these parents on my account." 

" To be silent in a case like this," replied Anton, " would 
be to make one's-self an accomplice in an unfair transaction. 
You must immediately write and tell your father not to be 
so obliging in future ; the young gentleman is capable of 
going to him again." 

Anton's next step was to write Eugene a letter of serious 
remonstrance, in which he pointed out to him, that the 
only way of giving Sturm tolerably good security would be 
the procuring the Baron's acknowledgment of his son's 
debt, and begged that he would lose no time in doing this. 

This letter written, Anton said to Karl : " If he does 
not confess to his parents, I shall state the whole affair to 
the Baron in his presence, the very next day after his 
arrival. Don't try to dissuade me ; you are just like your 
father." 

The consequence of this communication was, that Eugene 
left off writing to Anton, and that his next letter to his 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



91 



father contained a rather uninteUigible clause : — " Wohl- 
fart," he said, "was a man to whom he certainly had 
obligations ; only the worst of that kind of people was, 
that they took advantage of these to adopt a dictatorial 
tone that was unbearable. Therefore it was best civilly to 
shake them off." 

This opinion was quite after the Baron's own heart, and 
he warmly applauded it. " Eugene always takes the right 
view of a case," said he ; " and I too earnestly long for the 
day when I shall be able to superintend the property, and 
to dismiss our Mr. Wohlfart." 

The Baroness, who had read the letter out to her hus- 
band, merely replied, " You would miss Wohlfart very much, 
if he were to leave you." 

Lenore, however, was unable to suppress her displeasure ; 
and leaving the room in silence, she went to look for Anton 
out of doors. 

"What are you and Eugene differing about?" she cried 
as soon as she saw him. 

"Has he been complaining of me to you?" inquired 
Anton in return. 

" Not to me ; but in his letter to my father, he does not 
speak as he ought of one who has been so kind to him." 

" Perhaps this is accidental, a fit of ill-humour that will 
pass off." 

" No, it is more, and I will know about it." 

" If it be more, you can only hear it from himself." 

"Then, Wohlfart," cried Lenore, "Eugene has been 
doing something wrong, and you know of it." 

" Be that as it may," returned Anton gravely, " it is not 
my secret, else I should not withhold it from you. I pray 



92 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



you to believe that I have acted uprightly towards your 
brother." 

" What I believe little signifies," cried Lenore. " I am 
to know nothing ; I understand nothing, I can do nothing 
in this wretched world but grieve and fret when others are 
unjust to you." 

" I very often," continued Anton, " feel the responsibility 
laid upon me by your father's indisposition a grievous 
burden. It is natural that he should be annoyed with me 
when I have to communicate unwelcome facts. This can- 
not be avoided. I have strength, however, to brave much 
that is painful, so long as you and the Baroness are un- 
shaken in your conviction, that I always act in your interest 
so far as I understand it." 

" My mother knows wdiat you are to us," said Lenore. 
" She never, indeed, speaks of you to me, but I can read 
her glance when she looks at you across the table. She 
has always known how to conceal her thoughts; now, she 
does so more than ever. Yes, even to me ! I seem to see 
her pure image behind a white veil; and she is become so 
fragile, that often the tears rush to my eyes merely in look- 
ing at her. She always says what is kind and judicious, 
but she seems to have lost interest in most things ; and 
though she smiles at what I say, I fancy that tlie effort 
gives her pain." 

" Yes ; just so," cried Anton mournfully. 

" She only lives to take care of my father. No one, not 
even her daughter, knows what she inwardly suffers. She 
is like an angel, Wohlfart, who lingers on our earth re- 
luctantly. I can be but little to her, that I feel. I am 
not helpful, and want all that makes my mother so lovely 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



93 



—the self-control, the calm bearing, the enchanting manner. 
My father is sick — my brother tlioughtless — my mother, 
spite of all her love, reserved towards me. Wohlfart, I am 
indeed alone." 

She leaned on the side of the well, and wept. 

" Perhaps it will all be for your good," said Anton sooth- 
ingly from the other side the well. " Yours is an energetic 
nature, and I believe you can feel very strongly." 

" I can be very angry," chimed in Lenore through her 
tears, " and then very careless again." 

"You grew up without a care, in prosperous circum- 
stances, and your life Avas easy as a game." 

" My lessons were difficult enough, I am sure," remon- 
strated Lenore. 

" I think that you were in danger of becoming a little 
wild and haughty in character." 

" I am afraid I was so," cried Lenore. 

" Now, you have had to bear heavy trials, and the pre- 
sent looks serious too. And, if I may venture to say so, 
dear lady, I think you will find here, just what the Baroness 
has acquired in the great world — dignity and self-control. 
I often think that you aj-e changed already." 

"Was I then an unbearable little savage formerly T' 
asked Lenore, laughing in the midst of her tears, and look- 
ing at Anton with girlish archness. 

He had hard work not to tell her how lovely she was at 
that moment ; but he valiantly conquered the inclination, 
and said as coolly as he could, " Not so bad as that, dear 
lady!" 

"And do you know what you are?" asked Lenore play- 
fully. " You are, as Eugene writes, a little schoolmaster!" 



94 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



"So that is what he has written!" cried Anton, enlight- 
ened. 

Lenore grew grave at once. " Do not let us speak of 
him. As soon as I heard his letter, I came here to tell 
you that I trust you as I do no one on earth, if it be not 
my mother ; that I shall always tmst you as long as I live ; 
that nothing could shake my faith in you ; that you are 
the only friend that we have in our adversity; and that I 
could ask your pardon on my knees when any one offends 
you in word or even thought." 

" Lenore, dear lady," cried Anton joyously, " say no 
more." 

" I will say," continued Lenore, " how I admire the self- 
possession with which you follow your own way and manage 
the people, and that it is you alone who keep any order on 
the estate, or can bring it into a better condition. This 
has been upon my mind to say ; and now, Wohlfart, you 
know it." 

" I thank you, lady," cried Anton ; " such words make 
this a happy day. But I am not so self-possessed and 
efficient as you think; and every day I feel more and more 
that I am not the person to be really of service here. If 
I ever wish that you were not the Baron's daughter, but 
his son, it is when I go over this property." 

" Yes," said Lenore ; that is just the old regret. Our 
former bailiff used often to say the same. When I sit over 
my work, and see you and Mr. Sturm go out together, I 
get so hot, and I throw my useless frame aside. I can 
only spend, and understand nothing but buying lace ; and 
even that I don't understand well, according to mamma. 
However, you must put up with the stupid Lenore as your 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



95 



good friend." And she gave him her own true hearted 
smile. 

"It is now many years since I have, in my inmost soul, 
felt your friendship to be a great blessing," cried Anton, 
much moved. " It has always, up to this very hour, been 
one of my heart's best joys secretly to feel myself your 
faithful friend." 

" And so it shall ever be between us," said Lenore. 
" Now I am comfortable again. And do not plague your- 
self any more about Eugene's foolish ways. Even I am not 
going to do so." 

Thus they parted like innocent children who find a plea- 
sure in saying to each other all that the passion of love 
would teach to conceal. 



96 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



CHAPTER V. 



rPHE enmity between Pix and Specht raged fiercely as 
ever. Now, however, Specht stood no longer alone, — 
the quartett was on his side ; for Specht was wounded in 
feelings that the quartett respected, and often celebrated in 
song. Mr. Specht w^as in love. Certainly this was nothing 
new to his excitable nature ; on the contrary, his love was 
eternal, though its object often changed. Every lady of 
his acquaintance had, in her turn, been worshipped by him. 
Even the elderly cousin had been for a time the subject of 
his dreams. 

On this occasion, however, Mr. Specht's love had some 
solid foundation. He had discovered a young Avoman, a 
well-to-do householder, the widow of a fur-merchant, with 
a round face and a pleasant pair of nut-brown eyes. He 
followed her to the theatre, and in the public gardens, walked 
past her windows as often as he could, and did all that in 
liim lay to win her heart. 

He disturbed the quiet of her bereaved life by showers of 
anonymous notes, in which he threatened to quit this sub- 
lunary scene if she despised him. In the list of advertise- 
ments, amongst fresh caviare, shell-fish, and servants wanting 
places, there appeared, to the astonishment of the public, 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



97 



numerous poetical effusions, where Adele, the name of the 
widow, was made prominent, either in an acrostic, or else by- 
its component letters being printed in large capitals. At 
length Specht had not been able to resist taking the quartett 
into his confidence on the subject. The two basses were 
amazed at such poetical efforts having proceeded from their 
office. True, they had often ridiculed them with others, 
while Specht inwardly groaned over counting-house criti- 
cism ; but now that they knew one of themselves to have 
been the perpetrator, the esprit de corps awoke, and they 
not only received his confessions kindly, but lent him their 
assistance in bribing the watchman in the widow's street, 
and serenading her, on which occasion a window had been 
seen to open, and something white to appear for a few 
minutes. Specht was now at the summit of earthly felicity, 
and as that condition is not a reticent one, he imprudently 
extended his confidence to others of his colleagues, and 
so it was that the matter came to the ears of Pix. 

And now there began in the local advertiser a most ex- 
traordinary game of hide-and-seek. There were numerous 
insertions appointing a Mr. S. to a rendezvous with one 
dear to him, in every possible part of the town. Wherever 
the place, Specht regularly repaired to it, and never found 
her whom he sought, but suffered from every variety of 
weather, was repulsed by stranger ladies, and had the end 
of a cigar thrown into his face by a shoemaker s apprentice, 
whom he mistook for his fair one in disguise. Of course 
he, on his side, gave vent, through the same medium, to 
his complaints and reproaches, which led to excuses and 
new appointments. But he never met the long-sought-for 
one. 

VOL. II. G 



98 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



This went on for some weeks, and Speclit fell into a 
state of excitement which even the basses found repre- 
hensible. 

One morning Pix was standing as usual on the ground- 
floor, when a plump, pretty lady, with nut-brown eyes, and 
enveloped in beautiful furs, entered the house, and in an 
irate tone of voice inquired for Mr. Schroter. 

Pix informed her that he was not then at home, adding, 
with the air and tone of a field-marshal, that he was his 
representative. 

After some reluctance to tell her tale to any other than 
Mr. Schroter had been overcome by the polite decision of 
Mr. Pix, the lady preferred her complaint against one of 
the clerks in that oflBce who persecuted her with letters 
and poems, and unworthily made her name public in the 
daily papers. 

The whole thing flashed upon Pix at once. " Can you 
give me the gentleman's name V 

" I do not know his name," said the widow ; " he is tall 
and has curly hair. 

" Gaunt in figure and a large nose, eh?" inquired Pix. 
" Very well, madam, from this day forth you shall have no 
further annoyance. I will be answerable for that." 

" Still," recommenced the lady in the furs, " I should 
wish Mr. Schroter himself — " 

" Better not, madam. The young man has behaved 
towards you in a manner for which I can find no adequate 
terms. Yet your kind heart will remember that he did 
not mean to offend. He wanted sense and tact, that was 
his offence. But he was really in earnest ; and since I 
have had the honour to know you, I find it natural." 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



99 



He bowed. " I condemn him, as I said before, but I find it 
natural." 

The pretty widow stood there embarrassed, and Pix pro- 
ceeded to say that her forgiveness would be a source of 
happiness to the whole establishment. 

" I never meant to make the establishment responsible 
for the ungentlemanlike behaviour of one of its mem- 
bers." 

" I thank you with my whole heart for your gracious 
conduct," said Pix triumphantly, and then skilfully pro- 
ceeded to lead the conversation to the goods with which 
they were surrounded, pointing out the peculiarities of 
different coffees, and stating, that although the firm had left 
off retail dealings, yet that in her case they would, at any 
time, be much flattered to receive an order, however small, 
and to furnish her with the articles required, at wholesale 
prices. 

The lady expressed her gratitude, and went away recon- 
ciled to the firm. 

Pix went into the office, and calling Specht aside, 
severely remonstrated with him. Specht was at first speech- 
less with terror. " She began in the daily papers," cried 
he at length ; " she first appointed the theatre, then the 
promenade, then the tower to see the view, then — " 

" Nonsense !" exclaimed Pix with virtuous indignation ; 
" don't you see that some scapegrace or other has been 
making a fool of you ? The lady has been rendered very 
unhappy by your conduct." 

Specht wrung his hands. 

" I have done all I could to set her mind at rest, and 
have promised that you shall never again intrude upon her 



100 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



ill any one way. So mind wliat you are about, or Mr. 
Schroter shall hear the whole story." 

While Specht, suffering inexpressibly, took counsel with 
liis musical friends, Pix acted. A porter carried an im- 
mense packet to the widow's house that very evening, which 
Pix scrupulously charged to his own account. That same 
evening he called to announce Specht' s penitence, and pro- 
mises of never offending again. The following Sunday he 
took coffee at the lady's house, and four weeks after he 
made her a proposal. This was accepted, and Mr. Pix 
determined, in spite of moths and other hindrances, to 
give a fresh impulse to the fur-trade, and to become its 
centre. 

To his honour be it said, he felt bound to communicate 
the fact to Specht before any one else, and to vouchsafe 
him a few words of consolation. "Fate has so willed it; 
be rational, Specht, and make up your mind. After all, 
it is one of your colleagues who is getting married ; take 
my advice, and fall in love as fast as you can with some one 
else. It will give you no trouble at all." 

"So you think," cried Specht in despair. 

" I assure you it will not, if you set about it in earnest. 
We will remain good friends ; you shall be my groom' s- 
man, and you will soon find another whose name will rhyme 
quite as well as Ad^le." 

This consolation, however, proved unavailing at the time, 
and Specht, indignant at the treachery of his opponent, 
enjoyed at least the mournful satisfaction of having the 
whole counting-house on his side, and hearing Pix univer- 
sally condemned as a hard-hearted, selfish fellow. But time 
gradually poured its balsam into his heart ; and the widow 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



101 



happening to have a niece whose eyes were blue, and whose 
hair was golden, Specht began by finding her youth interest- 
ing, then her manners attractive, till one day he returned 
to his own room fully resolved to be the nephew-in-law 
of Mr. Pix. 

The merchant sat one evening in his arm-chair, and 
seemed absorbed in his own thoughts. At last, turning to 
his sister he said, " Fink has disappeared again." 

Sabine let her work fall. " Disappeared ! In America ! " 

" An agent of his father's was in our counting-house to- 
day. According to what he told me there has been a fresh 
difference between Fink and his father, and this time I fear 
Fink is more in the right of it than the firm. He has 
suddenly given up the management of its affairs, has broken 
up by his strong measures a great company founded by his 
uncle, has renounced his claim upon his inheritance, and 
has disappeared. The uncertain reports that have come 
from New York say that he is gone to the prairies of the 
interior." 

Sabine listened with intense interest, but she said not a 
word. Her brother, too, was silent a while. " After all, 
there were noble elements in his character," said he at 
length. The present time requires energy and strength 
like his. Pix, too, is leaving us. He is to marry a widow 
with means, and to set up for himself. I shall give his 
post to Balbus, but he will not replace him." 

"No," said Sabine anxiously. 

" This house is growing empty," continued her brother, 
" and I feel that my strength is failing. These last years 
have been heavy ones. We get accustomed to the faces, even 
to the weaknesses of our fellow-men. No one thinks how 



102 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



bitter it often is to the head of a firm to sever the tie that 
binds him to his coadjutors ; and I was more used to Pix 
than to most men — it is a great blow to me to lose him. 
And I am growing old. I am growing old, and our house 
empty. You alone are left to me at this gloomy time ; and 
when I am called upon to leave you, you will remain behind 
me desolate. My wife and my child are gone ; I have been 
setting my whole hopes upon your blooming youth ; I have 
thought of your husband and your children, my poor dar- 
ling. But meanwhile I have grown old, and I see you at 
my side with a cheerful smile and a wounded heart — active, 
sympathizing, but alone; without great joys and without 
happy hopes." 

Sabine laid her head on her brother's shoulder, and wept 
silently. " One of those whom you have lost was dear to 
you," said she gently. 

"Do not speak or think of him," replied her brother 
darkly. " Even if he returned from thence he would be 
lost to us." He passed his hand over her head, took up 
his hat, and left the room. 

" Yet he himself is always thinking of Wohlfart," cried 
the cousin from her w^indow-niche. " This very day he was 
cross-examining old Sturm about Karl and the property. I 
declare I don't understand the man." 

" / understand him," sighed Sabine, and sat down again 
to her work. The cousin pouted — " You and he are just 
alike ; there is no speaking to you on certain subjects." 
And she left the room. 

Sabine sat alone. Tlie fire crackled in the stove, the 
pendulum of the clock swung backwards and forwards 
monotonously. " Ever so ! Ever so !" it seemed to say. 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



103 



Those pictures of her parents had been looking calmly down 
upon her, their last child, for many years. Her youth was 
passing away silent, serious, still as those painted forms. 
Sabine bowed her head and listened. Hush! little fairy 
steps in the corner of the room. Hark, again ! a merry 
laugh from a child's lip, and the steps tripped nearer, and 
a curly head was laid on her knee, and two little arms 
stretched out lovingly to clasp her neck. She bent down 
and kissed the air, and listened again to those blessed sounds 
which swelled her heart with rapture, and brought tears of 
joy to her eyes. Alas ! she but grasped at empty air, and 
nothing was real but the tears that fell into her lap. 

So sat she long till twilight closed in. The vibrations 
of the pendulum seemed to fail, the fire grew low in the 
stove, the pictures dim on the walls, the room dark and 
lonely. 

At that moment old Sturm's hammer was heard outside. 
Every stroke fell strong, vigorous, decided. It sounded 
through courtyard and house. Sabine rose : " So it shall 
be," cried she. " I have twice hoped and feared, twice it 
has been an illusion, now it is over. My life is to be de- 
voted to him to whom I am all. I cannot bring to him 
the husband he hoped for, and no band of children will 
twine their arms about his neck. Yes, things will go on 
with us as they have done hitherto, always more silent, 
always more empty. But me shall he have, and my whole 
life. My brother, thou shalt never again feel with regret 
that thy life and mine are wanting in joyousness !" 

She caught up her little key-basket, and hurried into her 
brother's room. Meanwhile, the cousin was making up 
her mind to pay Mr. Baumann a visit. 



104 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



Between the cousin and Mr. Baumann there had long 
been a silent understanding, and fate now willed that he 
should be her neighbour at the dinner-table. When the 
cousin glanced back over her succession of neighbours, she 
came to the conclusion, that they had lost in sprightliness 
what they had gained in moral worth. Fink was rather 
profane, but very amusing ; Anton had a certain equipoise 
of goodness and pleasantness ; Baumann was the best of 
them all, but also the most silent. Her conversation with 
him, though edifying enough, was never exciting. On 
Mondays indeed they had a mutual interest in discussing 
the Sunday's sermon, but there was another tie between 
them, and that was Anton. 

The good lady could not account for what she called 
his unnatural departure. Whether the fault was that of 
the principal or the clerk, she could not take upon her- 
self to decide, but she was firmly convinced that the step 
was unnecessary, unwise, and injurious to all parties ; 
and she had done all towards bringing the wanderer back 
into the firm that tender hints and feminine persuasions 
can do to counteract manly perversity. Wlien first Anton 
left, she had taken every opportunity of mentioning and 
praising him, both to the merchant and to Sabine. But 
she met with no encouragement. The merchant always 
answered drily, sometimes rudely, and Sabine invariably 
tui'ned the subject or was silent. The cousin was not, 
however, to be taken in by that. Those embroidered 
curtains had let in a flood of light upon her mind, in which 
Sabine stood plainly revealed to her gaze. She knew thai 
Mr. Baumann was the only one of his colleagues with 
whom Anton kept up a correspondence, and to-day she 
resolved to call him to her aid. Therefore she took up the 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



105 



report of a benevolent society, lent her by the future mis- 
sionary, and knocking at Mr. Baumann's door, handed it 
in to him. " Very good," said she on the threshold ; 
" Heaven will bless such a cause. Pray set me down as 
a subscriber for the future." Mr. Baumann thanked her in 
the name of the poor. The cousin went on. " What do 
you hear of late from your friend Wohlfart 1 He seems to 
have vanished from the face of the earth; even old Sturm 
has nothing to say about him." 

" He has a great deal to do," said the reticent Bau- 
mann. 

" Nay, I should think not more than here. If occupa- 
tion was all he wanted, he might have remained where he 
was." 

" He has a difficult task to perform, and is doing a 
good work where he is," cautiously continued Mr. Bau- 
mann. 

" Don't talk to me of your good work," cried the cousin, 
entering, in her excitement, and closing the door behind her. 
" He had a good work to do here too. I beg your pardon, but 
really I never knew such a thing in all my life. He runs 
away just when he was most wanted. And no excuse for it 
either. If he had married or set up for himself, that would 
have been a different thing, for a man likes a business and a 
household of his own. That would have been God's will, 
and I should not have said a word against it. But to run 
off from the counting-house after sheep and cows, and 
noblemen's families and Poles, when he was made so 
much of, and was such a favourite here ! Do you know 
what I call that, Mr. Baumann?" said she, the bows on her 
cap shaking with her eagerness ; " I call that ungrateful ! 



106 



DEEIT AND CREDIT. 



And what are we to do here ? This house is getting quite 
desolate, Fink gone, Jordan gone, Wohlfart gone, Pix 
gone, — you are almost the only one remaining of the old 
set, and you can't do everything." 

" No," said Baumann, embarrassed ; " and I, too, am 
very awtwwdly placed ; I had fixed last autumn as the 
term of my stay here, and now spring is comiug on, and I 
have not followed the voice that calls me." 

" Stuff and nonsense !" cried the cousin in horror ; "yon 
are not going away too ?" 

" I must," said Baumann, looking down ; " I have had 
letters from my English brethren, they blame my lukewarm- 
ness. I fear I have done very wrong in not leaving you 
before, but when I looked at the heaps of letters, and Mr. 
Schroter's anxious face, and thought what hard times these 
were, and that the house had lost most of its best hands, I 
was withheld. I, too, wish that Wohlfart would return ; he 
is wanted here." 

" He must return !" cried the cousin ; " it is his Chris- 
tian duty. Write and tell him so. Certainly we are not 
very cheerful here," said she confidentially ; "he may have 
a pleasanter time of it yonder. The Poles are a merry, 
riotous set." 

" Alas ! " replied Mr. Baumann in the same confidential 
tone, " he does not lead a merry life. I am afraid he 
has a hard time of it there ; his letters are by no means 
cheerful." 

" You don't say so ! " said the cousin, taking a chair. 
Baumann drew his near her and went on. 
" He writes anxiously ; he takes a gloomy view of the 
times, and fears fresh disturbances." 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



107 



" God forbid !" cried the good woman, " we have had 
enough of them." 

" He lives in an unsettled district, with bad men around, 
and the police regulations seem to be quite inadequate." 

" There are fearful dens of robbers there," chimed in the 
excited cousin. 

" And I fear, too, that his earnings are but small. At 
first I sent him a few trifles to which he was accustomed, 
such as tea and cigars, but in his last letter he told me he 
was going to be economical, and to leave them ofi". — He 
must have very little money," continued Baumann, shaking 
his head ; " not more than two hundred dollars." 

" He is in want," cried the cousin ; " actually he is ! 
Poor Wohlfart ! When you next write, we will send him 
a chest of the Pekoe tea, and a couple of our hams." 

" Hams to the country ! I fancy there are more swine 
there than anything else." 

" But they don't belong to him," cried she. " Listen to 
me, Mr. Baumann ; it is your Christian duty to wite to him 
at once, and tell him to return. The business wants him. 
I have the best reasons to know how much my cousin 
Schroter is silently feeling the loss of his best coadjutors, 
and how much he would rejoice to see Wohlfart back again." 

This was a pious fraud of the good lady's. 

" It does not appear so to me," interpolated Baumann. 

" It was only to-day that my cousin Sabine said to her 
brother how dear Wohlfart had been to us all, and how 
great a loss he was. If he has duties yonder, he has duties 
here too, and these are the oldest." 

" I will write to him," said Mr. Baumann ; " but I fear, 
honoured lady, that it will be to no purpose, for now that 



108 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



lie himself is a loser by it, he will never look back from 
the plough to which, for the sake of others, he has put his 
hand." 

" He does not belong to the plough, but to the pen," cried 
the cousin irritably ; " and his place lies here. And because 
he gets a good name here, and drinks his tea comfortably, 
he does his duty none the less. And I tell you, too, j\Ir. 
Baumann, that I beg never to hear again of your African 
notions." 

Baumann smiled proudly. However, as soon as the 
cousin had left the room, he obediently sat down and wrote 
off the whole conversation to Anton. 

The snow had melted away from the Polish estate, the 
brook had swollen to a flood, the landscape still lay silent 
and colourless, but the sap began to circulate in the branches, 
and the buds on the bushes to appear. The ruinous bridge 
had been carried away by the winter torrents, and Anton 
was now superintending the building of a new one. Lenore 
sat opposite him, and watched his measurements. " The 
winter is over," cried she ; " spring is coming ! 1 can 
already picture to myself green grass and trees, and even the 
gloomy castle will look more cheerful in the bright spring 
sunshine than it does now. But I will sketch it for you 
just as it is, and it shall remind you of the first winter 
that we spent here under your protection." 

And Anton looked with shining eyes at the beautiful 
girl before him, and, with the pencil in his hand, sketched 
her profile on a new board. " You won't succeed," said 
Lenore ; " you always make my mouth too large, and my 
eyes too small. Give me the pencil ; I can do better. 
Stand still. Look ! that is your face ; your good, true 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



109 



face ; — I know it by heart. Hurrah I the postman !" 
cried she, throwing away the pencil, and hurrying to the 
castle. Anton followed her ; for the postman and his 
heavy hag were to the castle as a ship steering through 
the sandy deep, and bringing the world's good things to the 
dwellers on a lonely island. The man was soon relieved 
from his burden. Lenore gladly caught up the drawing- 
paper that she had ordered from Rosmin. " Come, Wohl- 
fart, we will look out the best place for sketching the 
castle ; and you shall hang up the picture in your room, 
instead of the old one, which saddens me whenever I see 
it. Once you sketched our home : — now I will sketch it 
for you. I will take great pains, and you shall see what 
I can do." 

She had spoken joyously, but Anton had not heard a 
word she said. He had torn open Baumann's letter, and 
as he read it his face reddened with emotion. Slowly, 
thoughtfully, he turned away, went up to his room and 
came down no more. Lenore snatched up the envelope, 
which he had dropped. " Another letter from his friend 
in the firm ! " said she sadly ; " whenever he hears from 
him, he becomes gloomy and cold towards me." She threw 
away the envelope, and hurried to the stable to saddle her 
trusty friend the pony. 



110 



DEBIT AJS'D CREDIT. 



CHAPTER VL 

TT was the weekly market in the little town of Rosmin. 

From time immemorial this had been an important fes- 
tival to the country people around. 

For five days of the week the peasant had to cultivate 
his plot of ground, or to render feudal service to his landlord ; 
and on Sunday his heart was divided between the worship 
of the Virgin, his family, and the public-house ] but the 
market-day led him beyond the narrow confines of his 
fields into the busy world. There, amidst strangers, he 
could feel and show himself a shrewd man in buying and 
selling ; he greeted acquaintance whom else he would never 
have met ; saw new things and strange people ; and 
heard the news of other towns and districts. So it had 
been even when the Slavonic race alone possessed the soil. 
Then the site where Rosmin now stands was an open field, 
with perhaps a chapel or a few old trees, and the house of 
some sagacious landed proprietor, who saw further than the 
rest of his long-bearded countrymen. At that time the Ger- 
man pedlar used to cross the border with his wagon and his 
attendants, and to display his stores under the protection 
of a crucifix, or of a di'awn Slavonic sword. These stores 
consisted of gay handkerchiefs, stockings, necklaces of 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



Ill 



glass and coral, pictures of saints and ecclesiastical decora- 
tions, which were given in exchange for the produce of the 
district — wolf-skins, honey, cattle, and corn. In course of 
time the handicraftsman followed the pedlar, the German 
shoemaker, the tinsmith, and the saddler established them- 
selves ; the tents changed into strongly-built houses that 
stood around the market-place. The foreign settlers 
bought land, bought privileges from the original lords of 
the soil, and copied in their statutes those of German 
towns in general. In the woods and on the commons 
round, it was told with wonder how rapidly those men of 
a foreign tongue had grown up into a large community, and 
how every peasant who passed through their gate must pay 
toU ; nay, that even the nobleman, all-powerful as he was, 
must pay it as well. Several of the Poles around joined lots 
with the citizens, and settled among them as mechanics or 
shopkeepers. This had been the origin of Rosmin, as of 
many other German towns on foreign soil, and these have 
remained what at first they were, the markets of the 
great plains, where Polish produce is still exchanged for 
the inventions of German industry, and the poor field- 
labourer, brought into contact with other men, with cultiu"e, 
liberty, and a civilized state. 

As we have before said, the market day at Rosmin is 
a great day still. From early dawn hundreds of basket- 
carriages, filled with field-produce, move on towards the 
town, but the serf no longer whips on the used-up chargers 
of his master, but his own sturdy horse of German breed. 
And when the light carriage of a nobleman rolls by, the 
peasant urges his horse to a sharper trot, and only slightly 
touches his hat. Every^vhere they are moving on towards 



112 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



the town : the children are drivmg their geese thither, and 
the women carrying their butter, fruit, and mushrooms, 
and, carefully concealed, a hare or two that has fallen a 
victim to their husbands' guns. Numbers of carts stand at 
the door of every inn, and crowds are pushing in and 
out of every drinking-shop. In the market-place the corn 
wagons are closely ranged, and the whole wide space covered 
with well-filled sacks, and horses of every size and colour ; 
and a few brokers are winding their way, like so many eels, 
amongst the crowd, with samples of grain in each pocket, 
asking and answering in two languages at once. Amidst 
the white smock-frocks of the Poles, and their hats adorned 
with a peacock's feather, the dark blue of the German 
colonists appears, together with soldiers from the next 
garrison, townspeople, agriculturists, and fine youths, sons 
of the nobility. You may see the gendarme yonder at 
the corner of the square, towering high on his tall horse ; 
he, too, is excited to-day, and his voice sounds authori- 
tatively above aU the confusion of the carts that have 
stopped up the way. Everywhere the shops are opened 
wide, and small dealers spread out their wares on tables 
and ban-els in front of the houses ; there the bargains are 
deliberately made, and the enjoyment of shopping is keenly 
felt. The last purchase over, the next move is into the 
tavern. There, cheeks get redder, gestures more animated, 
voices louder, friends embrace, or old foes try hard to pick 
a quarrel. Meanwhile men of business have to make the 
most of this day, when actions are brought and taxes paid. 
Now it is that Mr. Lowenberg drives his best bargains, not 
only in swine, but in cows and wool, besides which he 
lends money, and is the trusted agent of many a landed 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



113 



proprietor. So passes the markot-day, in ceaseless talking 
and enjoyment, earning and spending, rolling of carts and 
galloping of horses, till evening closes in, and the housewife 
pulls her husband by the coat, remembering that the earthen 
mugs he carries are easily broken, and that the little children 
at home are beginning to cry out for their mother. Such 
has ever been the weekly market in the town of Rosmin. 

During the last winter, the numbers attending it had not 
decreased, but there was a degree of restlessness to be ob- 
served in many, particularly in the gentry of the district. 
Strangers of military appearance often entered the principal 
wine-shop, and went into the back-room, of which the door 
was at once shut. Youths wearing square red caps, and 
peculiarly attired, walked in and out amongst the crowd, 
tapping one peasant on the shoulder, calling another by 
name, and taking them into a corner apart. 

Wherever a soldier appeared, he was looked at like a 
character in a masquerade ; many avoided him, many, 
Germans and Poles alike, made more of him than ever. In 
the taverns, the people from the German villages sat apart, 
and the Poles on Herr von Tarow's estate drank and bought 
more than they were wont to do. The tenant of the new 
farm had been unable, last market-day, to lind a new scythe 
anywhere in the town, and the forester had complained to 
Anton, that he could not in any shop get powder enough 
to last him more than a week. Something was in the wind, 
but no one w^ould say what it was. 

It was market-day again at Rosmin, and Anton drove 
thither, accompanied by a servant. It was one of the first 
spring-days, and the sun shone brightly, reminding him how 
gay the gardens must now be with early flowers, and that 

VOL. II. H 



114 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



he and the ladies in the castle would see none this year, 
save a few perhaps from the little farm-garden behind the 
barn. But, indeed, it was no time to care much for flowers ; 
everywhere men's hearts were restless and excited, and 
much that had stood firm for years now seemed to totter. 
A political hurricane was blowing over wide districts ; every 
day the newspapers related something unexpected and 
alarming ; a time of commotion and universal insecurity 
seemed impending. Anton thought of the Baron's circum- 
stances, and what a misfortune it would be to him should 
land fall in value, and money rise. He thought of the 
firm, of the place in the office which he secretly still con- 
sidered his own, and of the letter written by Mr. Baumann, 
telling him how gloomy the principal looked, and how 
quarrelsome the clerks had become. 

He was roused out of his sorrowful reverie by a noise 
on the road. A number of gentlemen's carriages drove past 
him, Herr von Tarowski occupying the first, and politely 
bowing as he passed. Anton was surprised to see that his 
huntsman sat on the box as if they were going to the chase. 
Three other carriages followed, heavily laden with gentle- 
men ; and behind came a whole troop of mounted men — 
Yon Tarow's German steward among them. 

"Jasch," cried Anton to the servant who drove him, 
"what was it that the gentlemen in the second carriage 
were so careful to hide as they drove by 1 " 

" Guns," said Jasch, shaking his head. 

This sunny day, after so long a period of snow and rain, 
naturally attracted people from all sides to the town. 
Parties of them hurried forward, but few women were 
among them, and there was a degree of excitement and 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



11.:; 



animation prevailing, that was in general only displayed 
when returning in the evening. Anton halted at the first 
public-house on the way, and told the driver to remain there 
v/ith the horses. 

He himself walked rapidly on through the gate. The 
town was so crowded that the carts of grain could hardly 
make their way along. When Anton reached the market- 
place he was struck with the scene before him. On all 
sides heated faces, eager gestures, not a few in hunting 
costume, and a strange cockade on numerous caps. The 
crowd was densest before the wine-merchant's store ; there 
the people trode on one another, staring up at the windows, 
from whence hung gaily-coloured flags, the Polish colours 
above the rest. While Anton was looking with disquietude 
at the front of the house, the door was opened, and Herr 
von Tarow came out upon the stone steps, accompanied by 
a stranger with a scarf bound round him, in whom Anton 
recognised the same Pole who had once threatened him 
with a court-martial, and who had been inquiring for 
tlie steward a few months ago. A young man sprang 
out of the crowd on to the lowest step, saying some- 
thing in Polish, and waving his hat. A loud shout rose in 
return, and then came a profound silence, during which Von 
Tarow spoke a few words, the import of which Anton could 
not catch, owing to the noise of carts and tlie pushing of 
the crowd. Next, the gentleman with the scarf made a 
long oration, during which he was often interrupted by loud 
applause. At the end of it, a deafening tumult arose. 
The house-door was thrown wide open, and the crowd 
swayed to and fro like the waves of the sea, some rushing 
off in another direction, and others running into the house, 



116 



DEBIT AND CKEDIT. 



whence they hurried back with cockades on their caps, and 
scythes in their hands. The number of the armed went on 
rapidly increasing, and small detachments of scythe-bearers, 
headed by men with guns, proceeded to invest the market- 
]>lace. 

Hearing the word of command given behind him, Anton 
turned and saw a few men mounted and armed, who were 
ordering all the wagons to be removed from the market- 
place. The noise and confusion increased, the peasants 
dragging off their horses in all haste, the traders flying 
into the houses with their stores, the shops being gradu- 
ally closed. The market-place soon presented an ominous 
appearance. Anton was now swept off by the crowd to its 
opposite side, where the custom-house stood, made conspi- 
cuous from afar by the national escutcheon suspended near 
the windows. That was now the point of attraction, and 
Anton saw from a distance a man plant a ladder against the 
wall, and hack away at the escutcheon till, amidst profound 
silence, it fell to the ground. Soon, howviver a drunken 
i-abble fell upon it with wild yells, and, tying a rope about 
it, ignominonsly dragged it through the gutter and over the 
stones. 

Anton was beside himself. " Wretches !" cried he, run- 
ning towards the offenders. But a strong arm was thrown 
around him, and a broken voice said, " Stop, j\Ir. Wohl- 
fart, this is their day, to-morrow will be ours." Dashing 
away the unwelcome restraint, Anton saw the portly form 
of the Neudorf bailiff, and found himself surrounded by a 
number of dark-looking figures. These were the blue- 
coated German farmers, their faces full of grief and anger. 
" Let me go !" cried Anton in a phrensy. But again the 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



117 



heavy hand of the bailiff' was laid on his shoulder, and tears 
were in the man's eyes as he said, " Spare your life, IVIr. 
Wohlfart, it is all in vain ; we have nothing but our fists, 
and we are the minority." And on the other side his 
hand was grasped as if in a vice by the old forester, who 
stood there groaning and sobbing : " That ever I should live 
to see this day ! Oh, the shame, the shame ! " Again there 
rose a yell nearer them, and a voice cried, " Search the 
Germans ; take their arms from them ; let no one leave the 
market-place ! " Anton looked round him hastily. " This 
w^e will not stand, friends, to be trapped here in a German 
town, and to have our escutcheon outraged by those mis- 
creants." 

A dnmi was heard at a distance. " It is the drum of the 
guard," cried the bailiff" ; " the town militia are assembling 
— they have arms." 

" Perhaps all may not be lost yet," cried Anton ; " I 
know a few men wdio are to be relied upon. Compose 
yourself, old friend," said he to the forester. " The Germans 
from the country must be enlisted, no one knows yet wdiat 
we can do. We will, at all events, disperse in diff*erent 
directions, and re-assemble at the fountain here. Let each 
go and call his acquaintance together. No time is to be 
lost ! You go in that direction, bailiff" ; you, smith of Kunau, 
come with me." They divided ; and Anton, followed by the 
forester and the smith, went once more round the market- 
place. Wherever they met a German there was a glance, a 
hurried hand-clasp, a whispered word — " The Germans 
assemble at the fountain ;" and these spirited up the irre- 
solute to join their countrymen. 

Anton and his companions paused for a moment in the 



118 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



midst of the dense crowd around the wine-merchant's. 
About fifty men with scythes stood before the house, near 
them a dozen more armed with guns ; the doors were still 
open, and people were still going in to get arms. Some 
young gentlemen were addressing the crowd, but Anton re- 
marked that the Polish peasants did not keep their ranks, 
and looked doubtfully at each other. While the forester 
and the smith were giving the sign to the Germans, of 
whom many were here assembled, Anton rushed up to a 
little man in working garments, and seizing him by the 
arm said : " Locksmith Grobesch, you standing here ? Why 
do you not hasten to our meeting-place ? you a citizen 
and one of the militia, will you put up with this insult ?" 

" Alas, Mr. Agent," said the locksmith, taking Anton 
apart, " what a misfortune ! Only think, I was hammer- 
ing away in my workshop, and heard nothing of what was 
going on. One can't hear much at our work. Then my 
wife ran in — " 

" Are you going to put up with this insult ?" cried Anton, 
shaking him violently. 

" God forbid, Mr. Wohlfart ; I head a band of militia. 
While my wife looked out my coat, I just ran over the way 
to see how many of them there were. You are taller than 
I ; how many are there carrying arms 

" I count fifty scythes," replied Anton hurriedly, 

" It is not the scythes, they are a cowardly set ; how many 
guns are there ?" 

" A dozen before the door, and perhaps as many more 
in the house." 

" We have about thirty rifles," said the little man 
anxiously ; " but we can't count upon them all to-day." 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



119 



" Can you get us arms 1 " asked Anton. 

" But few," said the locksmith, shaking liis liead. 

"There is a band of us Germans from the countiy," said 
Anton rapidly ; " we will fight our way into the suburb, as 
far as the Red Deer Inn, and there, I will keep the people 
together, and for God's sake send us a patrol to report the 
state of things, and the number of arms you can procure. 
If we can eject the nobles, the others will run away at 
once." 

" But then the revenge these Poles will take I " said the 
locksmith. " The town will have to pay for it." 

" No such thing, my man. The military can be sent 
for to-morrow, if you but help to eject these madmen 
to-day. Off with you ; each moment increases the 
danger ! " 

He drove the little man away, and hurried back to the 
fountain. There the Germans were assembled in small 
groups, and the Neudorf bailiff came to meet him, crying 
— " There's no time to lose ; the others are beginning to 
notice us ; there is a party of scythes forming yonder 
against us !" 

" Follow me," cried Anton in a loud voice : " draw 
close ; forward ! let's leave the town." 

The forester sprang from side to side, marshalling tli<^ 
men ; Anton and the bailiff led the way. As they reached 
the corner of the market-place, scythes were crossed ; and 
the leader of the party cocked his gun and said theatrically, 
" Why do you wish to leave, my fine sir ? Take arms, ye 
people ; to-day is the day of liberty ! " 

He said no more, for the forester, springing forward, 
gave him such an astounding box on the ear that he reeled 



120 



DEBIT AND CKEDIT. 



and fell, his gun dropping from his hand. A loud cry 
arose ; the forester caught up the gun, and the scythe- 
bearers, taken by surprise, were dashed aside, their scythes 
taken from them, and broken on the pavement. Thus the 
German band reached the gates, and tliere, too, the enemy 
yielded, and the dense mass passed on unmolested till they 
reached the inn appointed. There the bailiff, urged on by 
Anton, addressed the people — 

" There is a plot against the Government. There is a 
plot against us Germans. Our armed enemies are few, and 
we have just seen that we can manage them. Let every 
orderly man remain here and help the citizens to drive out 
the strangers. The town militia will send us word how 
we can best do this, therefore remain together, coun- 
trymen !" 

At these words, many cried, "We will ! we will !" but 
many, too, grew fearful and stole away home. Those who 
remained looked out for arms as best they could, taking up 
pitchforks, bars of iron, wooden cudgels, or whatever else 
lay ready to hand. 

" I came here to buy powder and shot," said the forester 
to Anton. " Now I have a gun, and I will fire my very 
last charge, if we can only revenge the insult they have 
offered to our eagle." 

Meanwhile the hours passed as usual at the castle, and 
it was now about noon. The Baron, accompanied by his 
wife, walked in the sunshine, gmmbling because the mole- 
hills against which his foot tripped, were not yet levelled. 
This led him to the conclusion that there was no reliance 
to be placed upon hired dependants of any kind, and that 
Wohlfart was the most forgetful of his class. On this 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



121 



theme lie enlarged with a kind of gloomy satisfaction, the 
Baroness only contradicting him as far as she could without 
putting him out of temper. At last he sat down on a 
chair that one of the servants carried after him, and 
quietly listened to his daughter, who was discussing with 
Karl the liest site for a small plantation. No one thought 
of mischief, and each one was occupied wdtli things imme- 
diately around him. 

Then came the rumour of some great disaster, flying on 
wings of evil omen over the wide plain. It swooped dowii 
on the Baron's oasis, heavily fluttered over pines and wild 
pear-trees, corn fields and meadows, till it reached the castle. 
At first it was indistinct, like a little cloud on a sunny 
sky ; but soon it grew, it darkened the air, it brooded 
with its black pinions over all hearts, — it made the blood 
stand still in the veins, and filled the eyes with burning 
tears. 

In the middle of his work, Karl suddenly looked \\\\ 
and said in dismay, " That was a shot I" 

Lenore started, — then laughed at her own terror. 
" I did not hear it," said she ; " perhaps it was the 
forester." 

" The forester is gone to town," replied Karl gravely. 

" Then it is some confounded poacher in the wood !" cried 
the Baron angrily. 

" It was a cannon shot," maintained the positive Karl. 

" That is impossible," said the Baron, but he himself 
listened with intense attention ; " there are no cannon for 
many miles round." 

The next moment a voice sounded out from the farm- 
yard — " There is a fire in Rosmin !" 



122 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



Karl looked at his young lady, threw down his spade, 
and ran towards the farm-yard. Lcnore followed him. 

" Who said that there was a fire in Rosmin ?" he 
inquired. Not one would own that he had, but all ran in 
dismay to the high road, though the town was six miles 
off, and no view of it was to be had from thence. 

" Many scared women have been running along towards 
Neudorf," said one servant ; and another added, " There 
must be mischief going on in Rosmin, for we can see the 
smoke rise above the wood." All thought indeed that 
they did perceive a dark cloud in that direction, Karl as 
well as the rest. 

The nobles are all there to-day," cried one. " They 
have set the town on fire." Another professed to have 
heard from a man in the fields that this was to be a serious 
day for landed proprietors ; then, looking askance at Karl, 
he added, " Many things may yet happen before evening.'' 
Next came the landlord, exclaiming — "If this day were 
but over I" and Karl returned, "Would that it were!" yet 
no one knew exactly why. 

From that hour, fresh messengers of ill succeeded each 
other. " The soldiers and the Poles are fighting," said one. 
" Kunau is on fire too I" cried some women who had 
been working in the fields. At last came the farmers 
wife, mnning up to Lenore. " My husband sends me 
because he won't leave the farm on a day like this. He 
wishes to know whether you have any tidings of the 
forester ; there is murder going on in the town, and 
people say the forester is shooting away in the midst of 
it all." 

" Who says so ?" asked the Baron. 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



11^3 



" One who came rimniiig across the fields told it to my 
husband ; and it must be true that there is an uproar in 
the town, for when the forester went thither he had 
no gim." 

Thus the dark rumour spread. Karl had much diffi- 
culty in getting the men out again to their ploughing. 
Lenore meantime went up to the tower with him, but 
they could not be positive whether or not there was smoke 
in the direction of Rosmin. They had scarcely got down, 
when one of the farmer's servants came back with his 
horses to say that a man from the next district had told 
him, as he galloped past, that Rosmin was filled with men 
bearing red flags, and armed with scythes ; and that all 
the Germans in the country were to be shot. The 
Baroness wrung her hands and began to weep, and her 
husband lost all the self-command he had sought to exer- 
cise. He burst out into loud complaints against Wohlfart 
for not being on the spot on a day like this ; and gave 
Karl a dozen contradictory orders in quick succession. 
Lenore could not endure her suspense within the castle 
walls, but kept as much as she could with Karl, in whose 
trusty face she foimd more comfort than in anything else. 
Both looked constantly along the high road to see if a 
carriage or a messenger were coming. 

" He is peaceable," said she to Karl, hoping for confirma- 
tion from him. " Surely he would never expose himself to 
such fearful risk." 

But Karl shook his head. " Tliere is no trusting to that. 
If things in the town are as people say, Anton will not 
be the last to take a hand in them. He will not think of 
himself." 



124 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



" No, that lie will not I" cried Lenore, wringing her 
hands. 

So the day passed. Karl sternly insisted upon keeping all 
the servants together, he himself shouldering his carbine, 
not knowing why, and saddling a horse to tie it up again 
in the stable. At evening the landlord came running to 
the castle, accompanied by a serv-ant from the distillery. 
As soon as he saw the young lady, the good-natured man 
called out, " Here are tidings, dreadful tidings, of INIr. 
Wohlfart!" 

Lenore ran forward, and the servant began to give a 
confused report of the horrors of the day in Rosmin. He 
had seen the Poles and Germans about to fire at each other 
in the market-place, and x4.nton was marching at tlie head 
of the latter. 

" I knew that," cried Karl proudly. 

The servant went on to say, that he had run off just as 
all the Poles had taken aim at the gentleman. Whether 
he were alive or dead, he could not exactly say, owing to 
his terror at the time, but he fully believed the gentleman 
must be dead, 

Lenore leant against the wall, Karl tore his hair in distrac- 
tion. " Saddle the pony," said Lenore in a smothered voice. 

" You are not thinking of going yourself at night through 
the wood all the way to the town T cried Karl. 

The brave girl hurried towards the stable without an- 
swering him ; Karl barred the way. " You must not. 
The Baroness would die with anxiety about you, and what 
could you do amongst those raging men yonder ?" 

Lenore stood still. " Then go for him," said she, half- 
unconscious ; " bring him to us alive or dead." 



DEBIT AND CEKDIT. 



125 



" Can I leave you alone on a day like this /" cried Karl, 
beside himself. 

Lenore snatched his carbine from him. " Go, if yon 
love him. I will mount guard in your stead." 

Karl rushed to the farm-yard, got out his Imrse, and 
galloped off along the Rosmin road. The sound of the 
horse's hoofs soon died away, and all was still. Lenori^ 
paced up and down before the castle-walls ; her friend was 
in mortal peril, perhaps lost ; and the fault w^as hers, for 
she had brought him hither. She called to mind in her 
despair all that he had been to her and to her parents. 
To live on in this solitude without him seemed impossible. 
Her mother sent for her, her father called to her out of the 
window, but she paid no attention. Every other feeling 
was merged in the realization of the pure and sincere 
attachment that had existed between her and him she had 
lost. 

To return to Rosmin, Anton and his party had remained 
for about half an hour in expectation before the Red Deer. 
The frightened market-people kept pouring by, on their way 
to their village homes ; many of them indeed passed on, 
l)ut many, too, remained with their countrymen, and even 
several Poles w^ent up to Anton and asked wdietlier they 
could be of use to him. At length came the locksmith, 
by a back way, in his green uniform and epaulette, followed 
by some of the town militia. 

Anton rushed up to ask how things were going on. 

" There are eighteen of us,"' said the locksmith, " all 
safe men. The people in the market-place are dispersing, 
and those in the wine-store are not much stronger than 
before. Our captain is as brave as a lion. If you will 



12G 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



help liiin, he is prepared to tiy a bold stroke. We can get 
into Lciwenberg s house from behind. I made the lock on 
the back-door myself. If we manage cleverly, we can 
surprise the leaders of the insurrection, and take them and 
their arms." 

" We must attack them both in front and in the rear," 
replied Anton. " Then we shall be sure of them." 

" Yes !" said the locksmith, a little crestfallen, " if you 
and your party will attack them in front." 

" We have no arms," cried Anton. I will go with 
you, and so will the forester and a few more perhaps ; but 
an unarmed band against scythes and a dozen guns is out 
of the question." 

" Look you, now," said the worthy locksmith ; " it 
comes hard to us, too. Those who have just left wives 
and children in their first alarm, are not much inclined to 
make targets of themselves. Our people are full of good- 
will, but those men yonder are desperate, and therefore 
let us get in quietly from behind. If we can surprise them, 
there will be the less bloodshed, and that's the cliief thing. 
I have got no arms, only a sword for you." 

The party accordingly set off in silence, the locksmith 
leading the way. " Our men are assembled in the captain's 
house," said he ; " we can enter it through the garden 
without being seen." 

At length having got over hedges and ditches, they 
found themselves in the courtyard of a dyer. 

" Wait here," said the locksmith, vrith some disquietude. 
" The dyer is one of us militiamen. His house-door opens 
upon the back street, which takes into Lowenberg's court- 
yard : I am going to the captain." 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



127 



The party had only a few minutes to wait before they 
were joined by the militia. The captain, a portly butcher, 
requested Anton to join forces and walk by his side. They 
moved on to the back entrance of Lciwenberg's house, saw 
that the gate was neither locked nor guarded, and the court 
empty. They halted for a moment, and the forester pro- 
posed his plan. 

" We are more than are wanted in the house," said he. 
" Hard by there is a broad cross-street leading to the 
market. Let me have the drummer, a few of the militia, 
and half of the country people. We will run to the 
market-place and invest the opening of the cross-street, 
shouting loudly. Those in front of the house will be 
diverted thither ; meanwhile, you can force an entrance and 
take them prisoners. As soon as you hear the drum, let 
the captain and his troop rush through the court into the 
house and make fast the door." 

" I approve the plan," said the burly captain, his blood 
thoroughly up ; " only be quick about it." 

The forester took six of the militia, beckoned to the 
bailift' and to some of the country people, and went quietly 
down the side street. Soon the beating of a drum was 
heard, and loud hurrahs. At that signal all rushed through 
the court, the captain and Anton waving their swords, and 
found themselves inside the house before any one was aware 
of them, for all were looking out at door and window on 
the other side. 

" Hurrah !" cried the captain ; " we have them," catch- 
ing hold of one of the gentlemen. " Not one shall escape. 
Close the door ! " he cried, and he held his victim fast by the 
collar like a cow by its horns. Ten strong men closed and 



128 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



locked the house-door, so that all the more zealous of the 
enemy who were standing on the steps found themselves 
shut out. Next some of the band rushed up-stairs, and the 
others spread themselves over the ground-floor. All the 
conspirators on that floor, however, jumped out through 
the window, so that the Germans took nothing but a list 
of names, a quantity of scythes, and half a dozen guns 
belonging to the nobles. These the locksmith caught up, 
and ran, together with Auton and a few others, to join 
the forester's detachment, which they found in a critical 
position. 

The beat of the drum and the shouting, together with the 
attack made simultaneously upon the house, had thrown the 
enemy into confusion. The men with scythes were stand- 
ing about in disorder, while the bearer of the scarf, himself 
unarmed, was busy trying to rally them. On the other 
hand, all such as had guns — stewards, huntsmen, and a few 
young men of rank, had marched against the foresters 
party. Both bands halted with weapons raised, kept back 
for a moment by the thought of the fearful consequences 
that must follow the word of command. At that moment, 
Anton and the valiant locksmith joined them, and the gims 
they brought were dispensed quick as lightning. A bloody 
conflict on the pavement now seemed unavoidable. 

Just then a loud voice sounded from the window of the 
wine-store. " Brothers, we have them ! Here is the 
prisoner. It is Herr von Tarow himself ! " All lowered 
their guns and listened. The captain showed his prisoner, 
who made no fruitless struggles to escape from his awkward 
situation. " And now," went on the orator, " listen to 
my words. All the windows of this house are invested. 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



129 



All the streets are invested, and as soon as I lift my finger 
you'll all be shot down dead." 

" Hurrah, captain ! " cried a voice from a house in the 
middle of the market-place, while the shopkeeper dwelling 
there projected his duck-gun from one of the windows of the 
first floor, the apothecary and post-master soon doing the 
same. 

" Good-morning, gentlemen," cried the butcher pleasantly 
to these unexpected recruits. " You see, good people, that 
your resistance is vain, so throw away your scythes or you 
are all dead men." A number of scythes clattered on the 
pavement. 

" And as for you, gentlemen," continued the captain, 
" you shall be allowed to depart unmolested if you give up 
your arms ; but if any of you make any resistance, this man's 
blood be upon your heads." So saying, he caught hold of 
Tarowski by the head, and holding it out of the window 
drew a great knife. Throwing down its sheath into the 
street he waved it so ferociously round the prisoner's head, 
that the worthy butcher seemed for the moment transformed 
into a very cannibal. 

Then the forester cried, " Hurrah ! we have them ! 
March, my friends." The drummer thundered away, and the 
Germans charged. The Poles fell into disorder, some ran- 
dom shots were fired on both sides, then the rebels took to 
flight, pursued by their enemies. Many sought refuge in the 
houses, others ran out of the town ; while, on the other hand, 
armed citizens began to present themselves, and the dilatory 
members of the militia corps now joined the rest. The 
captain made over his prisoner to a few trusty men, and, 
waving off the congratulations that poured in upon hirn, 

VOL. II. I 



130 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



cried, " Duty l)efore all ! We have now to lock and 
invest the gates. AVhere is the captain of our allies ?" 

Anton stepped forward. " Comrade," said the butcher, 
with a military salute, " I propose that we muster our 
men, and appoint the watches." 

This was done, and those belonging to Rosmin were proud 
of their numbers. The National arms, washed clean and 
decorated by many busy feminine hands with the first flowers 
of the town-gardens, were solemnly raised to their former 
place, all the men marching by them, and presenting arms, 
while patriotic acclamations were raised by hundreds of 
throats. 

Anton stood on one side, and when he saw the spring- 
flowers on the escutcheon, he remembered having doubted in 
the morning whether he should see any flowers that year. 
Now, their colours were gleaming out brightly on the 
shield of his fatherland. But what a day this had been to 
him ! 

Much against his will, he was summoned to the council 
convened to take measures for the public safety. Ere long 
he had a pen in his hand, and was writing, at the long 
green table, a report of the events of the day to the 
authorities. Prompt steps were taken, — messengers were 
sent off" to the next military station ; the houses of the sus- 
pected searched ; such of the country people as were willing 
to remain till the evening, billeted in difierent houses. 
Patrols were sent out in all directions, a few prisoners 
examined, and information as to the state of the surround- 
ing district collected. Discouraging tidings poured in on 
all sides. Bands of Poles from several villages round were 
said to be marching on the town, an insurrection had been 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



131 



successful in the next circle, and the town was in the hands 
of a set of Polish youths. There were tales of plunder, 
and of incendiarism too, and fearful rumours of an intende(i 
general massacre of the Germans. The faces of the men of 
Rosmin grew long again, their present triumph gave way 
to fears for the future. Some timid souls were for making 
a compromise with Herr von Tarow, but the warlike spirit 
of the majority prevailed, and it was determined to pass 
the night under arms, and hold the town against all invaders 
till the military should arrive. 

By this time it was evening. Anton, alarmed at the 
numerous reports of plundering going on in the open country, 
left the town-council, and sent the bailiff to collect all the 
Germans of their immediate district to march home together. 
When they reached the wooden bridge at the extremity of 
the suburb, the townsmen who had accompanied them 
thither with beat of drum and loud hurrahs, took a brotherly 
leave of their country allies, 

" Your carriage is the last that shall pass to-day," said 
the locksmith ; "we will break up the pavement of the 
bridge, and station a sentinel here. I thank you in the 
name of the town and of the militia. If bad times come, 
as we have reason to fear, we Germans will ever hold 
together." 

" That shall be our rallying cry," called out the bailiff ; 
and all the country people shouted their assent. 

On their homeward way, Anton and his associates fell 
into earnest conversation. All felt elated at the part they 
had that day played, but no one attempted to disguise from 
himself that this was but a beginning of evils. " What is 
to become of us in the country?" said the bailiff. " The men 



132 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



in the town have their stout walls, and live close together ; 
but we are exposed to the revenge of every rascal, and if 
half a dozen vagabonds with guns come into the village, it 
is all over with us." 

" True," said Anton, " we cannot guard ourselves 
against large troops, and each individual must just take 
the chances of war ; but large troops, under regular com- 
mand, are not what we have most to fear. The worst are 
the bands of rabble, who get together to bum and plunder, 
and henceforth we must take measures to defend ourselves 
against these. Stay at home to-morrow, bailiff, and you, 
smith of Kunau, and send for the other Germans round, 
on whom w^e can depend, I will ride over to-morrow 
morning early, and we will hold a consultation." 

By this time they had reached the cross-way, and there 
the two divisions parted, and hurried home in different 
directions. 

Anton got into the carnage, and took the forester with 
him, to help to watch the castle through the night. In 
the middle of the wood, they w^ere stopped by a loud cry 
of " Halt ! who goes there ? " 

" Karl ! " exclaimed Anton joyfully. 

" Hurrah, hurrah, he is alive!" cried Karl in ecstasy. 
" Are you unhurt too ?" 

" That I am ; what news from the castle ?" 

Now began a rapid interchange of question and answer. 
"To think that I was not with you!" cried Karl again 
and again. 

Arrived at the castle, a bright form flew up to the car- 
riage. "You, lady !" cried Anton, springing out. 

"Dear Wohlfart !" cried Lenore, seizing both his hands. 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



133 



For a moment she hid her face on his shoulder, and her 
tears fell fast. Anton grasped her hand firmly, while he 
said, " A fearful time is coming. I have thought of you 
all day." 

" Now that we have you again," said Lenore, " I can 
bear it all : but come at once to my father, he is dying 
with impatience." She drew him up the stairs. 

The Baron opened the door, and cried out, " What news 
do you bring 1 " 

" News of war, Baron," replied Anton gravely ; " the 
most hideous of all wars — war between neighbour and 
neighbour. The country is in open revolt." 



134 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



CHAPTER VII. 

mHE Baron's estate lay in a comer of the Rosmin circle. 

Behind the forest, to the north, was the German 
village of Neudorf, and further off to the east, that of 
Knnau. 

Both these spots were separated by a wide expanse of 
sand and heath from any Polish proprietors, Herr von 
Tarow being the nearest. To the west and south of the 
estate, the country was inhabited by a mixed population ; 
but the Germans there were strong, and rich freeholders 
and large farmers having settled among the Slavonic race. 
Beyond Kunau and Neudorf, to the north, there was a 
Polish district peopled by small freeholders, for the most 
part in very reduced circumstances, and over head and ears 
in debt. 

" It is on that side that our greatest danger lies," said 
the Baron to Anton on the morning after the memorable 
market-day. " The villagers are our natural outposts. If 
you can induce the people to establish a systematic watch, 
let it be on the north ; we will then try to maintain a regular 
communication with them. Do not forget the beacons and 
places of rendezvous. As you are already on such friendly 
terms with the rustics, you will be able to manage that 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



135 



part of the business best. Meanwhile, I shall drive, accom- 
panied by young Sturm, to the next circle, and try to come 
to the same understanding with the landed gentry there. 

Accordingly, Anton rode of!" to Neudorf. There he 
found that fresh evil tidings had arrived in the night ; 
some German villages had been surprised by armed bands, 
the houses searched for arms, and many young people 
dragged away. No one was working in the fields at 
Neudorf. The men sat in the bar of the public-house, or 
stood about without any purpose, every hour expecting 
au attack. 

Anton's horse was immediately surrounded by a dense 
crowd ; and in a few minutes, the bailiff had gathered the 
whole population together. Anton proceeded to state what 
might be done to guard the village against the danger of a 
sudden surprise. For instance, he advised the calling out 
of a regular peasant-militia, sentinels on the road along the 
border, patrols, a rally in g-place in the village, and other 
precautions which the Baron had pointed out. " In this 
way," said he, " you will be able to procure our help in a 
short time, to defend yourselves against a weak foe, or to 
summon the military to your aid against a strong. In this 
way you will save your wives and children, your household 
goods, and, perhaps, your cattle from plunder and ill-treat- 
ment. It will be no small labour, indeed, to keep watch 
thus night and day, but your village is a large one. Per- 
haps these measures will soon be enjoined by the Govern- 
ment, but it is safer for all not to wait for that." 

His pressing representations, and the authority of the 
uitelligent bailiff, brought the community to a unanimous 
resolve. The young men of the village took up the matter 



136 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



eagerly, many professing themselves ready to buy a gun ; 
and the women began to pack up their most valuable effects 
in chests and bundles. 

From Neudorf, Anton went on to Kunau, where similar 
regulations were made: and finally it was arranged that 
the young men of both villages should come every Sunday 
afternoon, to the Baron's estate, to be drilled. 

When Anton returned to the castle, the existing means 
of defence on the estate itself had to be taken into con- 
sideration. A martial fever prevailed in the German colony : 
all were affected by it, even the most peaceful : the shep- 
herd and his dog Crambo, who had, by night-patrols, sen- 
tinels, and other disturbances, been worked up to such a 
state of excitement that he took to flying at the legs of all 
strangers — an act he had often rebuked in his young asso- 
ciate. All thoughts turned on weapons of warfare and 
means of defence. Alas ! the mood of mind was all that 
could be desired, but the forces were very small. To make 
up for that, the staff was a distinguished one. First of all, 
there was the Baron — an invalid, it is true, but great in 
theory ; then Karl and the forester, as respective leaders of 
the cavalry and infantry ; while Anton was not to be 
despised in the commissariat and fortification department. 

The Baron now left his room each day to hold a council 
of war. He superintended the drill, heard reports from sur- 
rounding districts, and sent off messengers to the German 
circles. A remnant of military ardour lit up his face. He 
good-humouredly rallied the Baroness about her fears, spoke 
words of encouragement to his German tenantry, and threat- 
ened to have all the evil-disposed in the village locked up 
at once, and kept on bread and water. It was touching to 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



137 



all to see how the blind man stood erect, musket in hand, 
to show certain niceties of manipulation to the forester, and 
then bent his ear down to ascertain whether the latter had 
thoroughly acquired them. Even Anton put on something 
of a martial panoply. He stuck a cockade in his cap ; his 
voice assumed a tone of militarj^ severity, and ever since 
the Rosmin day, he took to wearing an immense pair of 
waterproof boots, and his step fell heavy on the stair. He 
would have laughed at himself if any one had asked for 
what purpose he gave this particular outward expression 
to his state of mind; but no one did ask. It seemed 
natural and congruous to all ; and especially to Karl, who 
never himself appeared but in such remnants of his dress 
uniform as he had carefully preserved, and who curled his 
moustache, and sang military songs all day long. As the 
greatest danger was to be apprehended from the lawless in 
their own village, he summoned all the men who had once 
served, and, with the aid of the forester, who was respected 
as a magician, made an impressive speech, addressed them 
as comrades, drew his sword, and cried, " We military men 
will keep order among the boors here !" Then ordering a 
few quarts of brandy, he sang wild martial songs in chorus 
with them, gave them new cockades, and constituted them a 
species of militia. Thus, for a time at least, he gained a hold 
over the better part of the population, and heard through 
them of any conspiracy that was carried on in the tavern. 

"When the whole force of the estate was mustered before 
the castle-walls, the men stared in amazement at each other. 
They had all been metamorphosed by the last few days. 
The agent looked like a wild man from some outlandish 
swamp, where he daily stood up to the liips in water. 



138 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



Those from the new farm resembled forms of a vanished 
era. The forester, with his close-cut hair, long beard, and 
weather-beaten coat, looked an old mercenary of Wallen- 
stein's army, who had been asleep in the forest depths for 
two hundred years, and now re-appeared on the stage, 
violence and cruelty being again in the ascendant. The 
shepherd marched next to him, resembling a pious Hussite, 
with the broad brim of his round hat hanging low on his 
shoulders, a stout leathern girdle round his loins, and in 
his hand a long crook, to which he had fastened a bright 
steel point. His phlegmatic face and thoughtful eyes made 
him as strong a contrast as possible to the forester. All 
in all, the armed force of the estate did not amount to 
more than twenty men ; consequently it was very difficult 
to maintain any regular system of watching, either in the 
castle or the village. Each individual, it was plain, would 
have to make the greatest efibrts, but none of them com- 
plained. 

The next step was to see to the securing of the castle — 
to protect it from any nocturnal assault in the rear. Anton 
had a strong wooden fence run up from one wing to 
another. Thus a tolerably large courtyard was enclosed, 
and an open shed was roughly built on to the walls, to 
shelter fugitives and horses if need were. The windows of 
the lower storey were also strongly boarded; and as all the 
(entrances were on this side of the house, strangers were 
allowed as little ingress as possible. The well that supplied 
the castle lay outside the fence, between the farmyard and 
the castle : on which account, a large water-butt was made 
and filled each morning. 

Next came tidings from Rosmin. The locksmith ap- 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



139 



peared, after being repeatedly sent for, to strengthen 
bolts and bars. He brought with him military greetings 
from the militia, and the fact that a company of infantry 
had entered the town. " But there are but few of them," 
said he, " and we militia-men have severe duty." 

"And what have you done with your prisoners T' 
inquired Anton. 

The locksmith scratched his ear and twitched his cap, 
as he answered in a crestfallen tone : "So you have not 
yet heard ? The very first night came a message from the 
enemy, to the effect that if we did not give up the noble- 
man at once, they would march upon us with their whole 
force and set fire to our barns. I opposed the measure, and 
so did our captain, but every one who had a barn raised 
an outcry ; and the end of it was that the town had to come 
to terms with Von Tarow. He gave his word that he and 
his would undertake nothing further against us ; and then 
we took him over the bridge and let him go." 

"So he is free ! false man that he is !" cried Anton in 
indignation. 

"Yes, indeed!" said the locksmith; "he is on his 
estate again, and has a number of young gentlemen about 
him. They ride with their cockades over the fields just as 
they did before. Tarowski is a cunning man, who can 
open every castle-door with a stroke of a pen, and get on 
with every one. There's no reaching him." 

Of course farming suffered from these warlike prepara- 
tions. Anton insisted, indeed, upon what was abso- 
lutely necessary being done, but he felt that a time 
was come when anxiety about individual profit and loss 
vanished before graver terrors. The rumours, which grew 



uo 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



daily more tlireatening, kept him, and those around him, 
in ever-increasing excitement ; and at last they fell into a 
habitual state of feverish suspense, in which the futui-e was 
looked forward to with reckless indifference, and the dis- 
comforts of the present endured as matter of course. 

But more strongly than on any of the men around did 
this general fever seize upon Lenore. Since the day that 
she had waited for the absent Anton, she had seemed to 
begin a new life. Her mother mourned and despaired, but 
the daughter's young heart beat high against the storm, 
and the excitement was to her a wild enjoyment, to which 
she gave herself up, heart and soul. She was out of doors 
the whole day long whatever the weather, and at the 
tavern-door as often as the worst drunkard in the village ; 
for each day the landlord and his wife had something new 
to tell her. Ever since Karl had mounted his hussar coat, 
she treated him with the familiarity of a comrade, and 
when he held a consultation with the forester, her fair 
head was put together with theirs. The three spent 
many an hour in council of war in Karl's room, or in the 
farmyard — the men listening with reverence to her 
courageous suggestions, and requesting her opinion as to 
whether Ignatz, Gottlieb, or Blasius from the village, 
deserved to be trusted with a gun. It was in vain that 
the Baroness remonstrated with her martial daughter ; in 
vain that Anton tried to check her ardour, for the greater 
his own, the more the mood displeased him in the young 
lady. Again, she struck him as too vehement and bold, 
nor did he disguise his views. Upon that she subsided a 
little, and tried to conceal her warlike tendencies from him, 
but they did not really abate. She would have dearly liked 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



141 



to go with him to Nendorf and Kunau, to play at 
soldiers there, but Anton, once made so happy by her 
company, protested so strongly against the step, that the 
young lady had to turn back at the end of the village. 

However, on the day when the first drill of the men 
belonging to the estate, was to take place, Lenore came out 
with a soldier's cap and a light sword, took her pony out 
of the stable, and said to Anton, " I shall exercise with 
you." 

" Pray do nothing of the kind," replied h6. 

" Indeed I will," replied Lenore saucily. " You want 
men, and I can do as good service as if I were one." 

" But, dear young lady, it is so singular ! " 

" It is indifferent to me whether people think it singular 
or not. I am strong ; I can go through a good deal ; 
I shall not be tired." 

" But before the servants," remonstrated Anton. " You 
are letting yourself down before the servants and the 
country people." 

" That is my own concern," replied Lenore doggedly ; 
" do not oppose me ; I am determined, and that is 
enough !" 

Anton shrugged his shoulders, and was obliged to 
acquiesce. Lenore rode next to Karl, and went through 
all the exercises as well as a lady's saddle allowed ; but 
Anton, who was one of the infantry, looked over from his 
post at the bright face with dissatisfaction. She had 
never pleased him so little. Yet, as she sprang forward 
with the rest, wheeled her horse round, waved her sword, 
her bright hair floating in the wind, her eyes beaming with 
courage, she was enchantingly beautiful. But what would 



142 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



have charmed him in mere play seemed unfeminine, now 
that this drilling had become a matter of life and death ; 
and as soon as it was over, and Lenore came up to him 
witli glowing cheeks, waiting that he should address her, 
he was silent, and she had to laugh and say to him, 
" You look so morose, sir : do you know that the expres- 
sion is very unbecoming 

" I am not [)leased at your being so wilful," replied 
Anton. Lenore turned away without a word, gave her horse 
to a servant, and walked back in dudgeon to the castle. 

Since that time she took no share in the drilling, indeed, 
but she was always present when the men assembled, and 
looked on longingly from a little distance ; and when Anton 
was away, she would ride off in secret with Karl to the 
other villages, or walk alone through woods and fields, 
armed with a pocket-pistol, and delighted if she could stop 
and cross-question any wayfarer. 

Anton remonstrated with her on that subject, too. 

" The district is disturbed," he said. " How easily some 
rascal or other might do you an injury I If not a stranger, 
it might be some one from our own village." 

" I am not afraid," Lenore would reply ; " and the men 
of our village will do me no harm." And in fact she knew 
liow to manage them better than Anton or any one else. 
She alone was always reverentially saluted, even by the 
rudest among them, and whenever her tall figure was seen 
in the village street, the men bowed down to the ground, 
and the women ran to the windows and looked admiringly 
after her. And she had the pleasure, too, of hearing them 
tell her so in Anton's hearing. One Sunday evening, Karl, 
the forester, and the shepherd, sat watching in the farm- 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



143 



yard, while the peasants were assembled drinking in the 
tavern — Sunday being the most dangerous day for those 
in the castle, Karl had furnished a room for military pur- 
poses in the late bailiff's house. Thither Lenore herself 
now carried a bottle of rum and some lemons, that the 
sentinels might brew themselves some punch. The shej)- 
herd and the forester grinned from ear to ear at the 
attention. Karl placed a chair for the young lady, the 
forester began a tale of terror from the neighbouring dis- 
trict, and in a few minutes, Lenore was sitting with them 
exchanging views on the course of events. Just as the 
punch was ready, and she had poured it into two glasses 
and a mug, in came Anton. She did not exactly want him 
just then, but however he found no fault, and merely turned 
and beckoned to a stranger to come in. A slender youth 
in a blue coat, with bright woollen epaulettes, a soldier's 
cap in his hand, and wide linen trowsers pushed into his 
l)oots, proudly entered the room. As soon as he saw the 
lady, he was at her feet kissing her knees, and then he 
stood before her with downcast eyes, cap in hand. Karl 
went up to him — " Now then, Blasius, what news from the 
tavern T 

" Oh, nothing," replied the youth, in the melodious 
cadence with which the Pole speaks broken German. 
" Peasant sits, and drinks, and is merry." 

" Are there strangers there ; has any one come from 
Tarow r 

" No one," said Blasius. " No one is there ; but the 
host's niece is come to him, Rebecca the Jewish maiden." 
Meanwhile he looked steadfastly at Lenore, as though it 
were to her that he had to deliver his report. 



U4 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



Lenore stepped to the table, poured out a glass of punch, 
and gave it to the youth, who received it with delight, 
quaffed it, set down the glass, and bent again at the lady's 
knee with a grace that a prince might have envied. 

" You need never fear," cried he. " No one in the vil- 
lage will harm you ; if any one offended you, we would kill 
him at once." 

Lenore blushed and said, looking at Anton the while, 
" You know I have no fear, at all events of you ;" and 
Karl dismissed the messenger with orders to return in an 
hour. As he left the room, Lenore said to Anton, " How 
graceful his bearing is !" 

" He was in the Guards," replied Anton, " and is not the 
worst lad in the village ; but I pray you not to rely too 
much upon the chivalry of the worthy Blasius and his 
friends. I was uneasy about you again all the after- 
noon, and sent your maid to meet you on the Rosmin road ; 
for a travelling apprentice came running to the castle, 
frightened out of his senses, saying that he had been 
detained by an armed lady, and obliged to produce his 
passport. According to his story, the lady had a monstrous 
dog, as large as a cow, with her, and he complained that 
her aspect was awful. The poor man was positively beside 
himself." 

" He was a craven," said Lenore contemptuously. " As 
soon as he saw me with the pony he ran off, scared by his 
own bad conscience. Then I called after him, and threat- 
ened him with my pocket-pistol." 

In this manner the dwellers on the Baron's estate daily 
awaited the outbreak of the insurrection on their own oasis. 
Meanwhile it spread like a conflagration over the whole 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



145 



province. Wherever the Poles were thickly congregated, 
the flames leaped up fiercely. On the borders, they flared 
unsteadily here and there, like fire in green wood. In 
many places they seemed quenched for a long time, then 
suddenly broke out again. 

One Sunday afternoon there was to be a great drill of 
the united forces. The men of Neudorf and Kunau came 
with their flags — the foot-soldiers first, the mounted be- 
hind — the small band of cavalry from the castle riding to 
meet them, led by Karl, together with some men on foot, at 
whose head marched the forester, the generalissimo of all 
the troops. Even Anton was under his command. When 
Lenore saw them set out, she ordered her pony to be saddled. 

" I will look on," said she to Anton. 

" But only look on, dear lady !" said the latter im- 
ploringly. 

" Don't tutor me !" cried Lenore. 

The drilling-ground was at the edge of the wood. The 
forester had contrived, through ancient recollections, and 
after manifold consultations with the Baron, to bring his 
men into good order ; and Karl led his squadron with an 
ardour that might well make amends for lack of skill. For 
a long time they had marched, counter-marched, performed 
various evolutions, and fired at a mark. The mock artil- 
lery echoed cheerfully through the forest. Lenore had 
looked on from a distance, but at last she could not resist 
the pleasure of taking part in the cavalry exercise, and, 
trotting on to their head, she whispered to Karl, " Just for 
a minute or two." 

" What if Mr. Wohlfart see you ?" whispered Karl in 
reply. ■ 

VOL. II. K 



146 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



" He will not see," was Lenore's laughing answer, as 
she took her place in the ranks. 

The youths looked in amazement at the slender figure 
which trotted at their side. Owing to the admiration she 
excited, many performed their parts ill, and Karl had much 
fault to find. 

" The young lady does it best," cried a Neudorf man 
during a pause, and all took off their hats and cheered her 
loudly. 

Lenore bowed low, and made her pony curvet gaily. 
But her amusement was soon interrupted, for up came 
Anton. " It is really too bad," whispered he, angry in 
good earnest. " You expose yourself to familiar observa- 
tions, which are not ill meant, but which would still off'end 
you. Tins is no place for the display of your horseman- 
ship." 

"You grudge me every pleasure," replied Lenore, much 
aggrieved, and rode away. 

When she found herself alone, she let her pony prance 
and caracole under a great pear-tree, and inwardly chafed 
against Anton. " How mdely he spoke to me," thought 
she. " My father is right : he is very prosaic. "V^Tien I 
saw liim first, I was on this pony too, but then I pleased 
him better ; we were both children then, but his manner 
was more respectful than now," The thought flashed 
across her mind, how bright, fair, and pleasant her life was 
then, and how bitter now ; and while she dreamed over 
the contrast, she let the pony cut caper after caper. 

" Not bad, but a little more of the curb, Fraulein Le- 
nore !" cried a sonorous voice near her. Lenore looked round 
in amazement. A tall slight figure leant against the tree, 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



147 



arms crossed, and a satirical smile playing over the fine 
features. The stranger advanced and took off his hat. 
" Hard work for the old gentleman," said he, pointing to 
the pony. " I hope you remember me." 

Leuore looked at him as at an apparition, and at last in 
her confusion slipped down from her saddle. A vision out 
of the past had risen palpably before her ; the cool smile, 
the aristocratic figure, the easy self-possession of this man, 
belonged to the old days she had just been thinking of. 

" Herr von Fink !" she cried in some embarrassment. 
" How delighted Wohlfart will be to see you again !" 

" I have already been contemplating him from afar," 
replied Fink ; " and did I not know by certain infallible 
tokens that he it is whom I behold wading in uniform 
through the sand, I should not have believed it possible." 

" Come to him at once !" cried Lenore. " Your arrival 
is the greatest pleasure that he could have." 

Accordingly Fink went with her to the place where 
the men were engaged in shooting at a mark. Fink 
stepped behind Anton, and laid his hand on his shoulder. 
" Good-day, Anton," said he. 

Turning round in amazement, Anton threw himself on 
his friend's breast. There was a rapid interchange of 
hasty questions and short answers. 

" "Wliere do you come from, welcome wanderer V cried 
Anton at length. 

" From over there," replied Fink, pointing to the 
horizon. " I have only been a few weeks in the country. 
The last letter I got from you was dated last autumn. 
Thanks to it, I knew pretty well where to look for you. 
In the prevailing confusion, I consider it a remarkable 



148 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



piece of luck to have found you. There's Master Karl, 
too," cried he, as Karl sprang forward with a shout of 
delight. " Now, we have half the firm assembled, and 
we might begin off-hand to play at counting-house work ; 
but you seem to have a different way of amusing your- 
selves here." Then turning to Lenore he continued, " I 
have already presented myself to the Baron, and heard 
from your lady-mother where to find the martial young 
spirits. And now, I have to implore your intercession. I 
have some acquaintance with this man, and would willingly 
spend a few days with him, but I am well aware how in- 
considerate it would be to tax your hospitable home at a 
time like this with the reception of a stranger. But yet 
for his sake — he is a good fellow on the whole — allow me 
to remain long enough clearly to understand the fa(pn of 
the prodigious boots which the boy has drawn over his 
knees." 

Lenore replied in the same strain, *' My father will 
look upon your visit as a great pleasure ; a kind friend is 
doubly valuable at a time like this. I go at once to desu*e 
a servant to place all Mr. Wohlf art's boots in your apart- 
ment, that you may be able to study their faqon at your 
leisure." She bowed, and went off in the direction of the 
castle, leading her pony by the bridle. 

Fink looked after her and cried — " By Jove ! she is 
become a beauty ; her bearing is faultless — nay, she even 
knows how to walk ! I have no longer a shadow of doubt 
as to her having plenty of sense !" Then, putting his 
arm in Anton's, he led him off to the shade of the wild 
pear-tree, and then, shaking him heartily by the hand, 
exclaimed — " I say again, well met, my trusty friend ! 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



149 



Understand that I have not yet got over my astonishment. 
If any one had told me that I should find you painted red 
and black like a wild Indian, a battle-axe in your hand, 
and a fringe of scalp-locks round your loins, I should 
naturally have declared him mad. But you — bom, as it 
would seem, to tread in the footsteps of your forefathers — 
to find you on this desolate heath, with thoughts of murder 
in your breast, and, as I live, without a neckcloth ! If we 
two are changed, you, at all events, are not the least so. 
Perhaps, however, you are pleased with your change." 

" You know how I came here V replied Anton. 

" I should think so," said Fink. " I have not forgotten 
the dancing lessons." 

Anton's brow grew clouded. 

" Forgive me," continued Fink, laughing ; " and allow 
something to an old friend." 

" You are mistaken," replied Anton earnestly, " if you 
believe that anything of passion has brought me here. I 
have become connected with the Baron's family through a 
series of accidents." Fink smiled. " I confess that these 
would not have affected me had I not been susceptible of 
certain influences. But I may venture to say that I am 
accidentally in my present responsible situation. At a 
time when the Baron was veiy painfully circumstanced, I 
was fixed upon by his family as one who at all events had 
the will to be of use to them. They expressed a wish to 
engage my services for a time. When I accepted their 
proposal, I did so after an inward conflict that I have 
no right to disclose to you." 

" All that is very good," replied Fink ; " but when the 
merchant buys a gun and a sword, he must at least know 



150 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



why he makes those pui'chases ; and therefore forgive me 
tlie point-blank question — What do you mean to do 
here V 

" To remain as long as I feel myself essential, and then 
to look out a place in a merchant's office," said Anton. 
" At our old principal's V asked Fink hastily. 
" There or elsewhere." 

"The deuce!" cried Fink. "That does not seem a 
very direct course, nor an open confession either ; but one 
must not ask too much from you in the first hour of meet- 
ing. I will be more unreserved and candid to you. I have 
worked myself free over there ; and thank you for your 
letter, and the advice your wisdom gave. I did as you 
suggested, made use of the newspapers to explode my West- 
ern Land-Association. Of course, I flew with it into the 
air. I bought half-a-dozen pens with a thousand dollars, 
and had the New York gazettes and others continually 
filled with the most appalling reports of the good-for- 
nothingness of the Company. I had myself and my 
partners cursed in every possible key. This made a 
sensation. Brother Jonathan's attention was caught ; all 
our rivals fell upon us at once. I had the pleasure of 
seeing myself and my associates portrayed in a dozen 
newspapers as bloodthirsty swindlers and scoundrels. All 
for my good money too. It was a wild game. In a 
month the Western Land-Company was so down that no 
dog would have taken a crust of bread from it. Then came 
my co-directors and offered to buy me out, that they 
might be rid of me. You may fancy how glad I was. 
For the rest, I bought my freedom dear, and have left the 
reputation behind me of being the devil himself. Never 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



151 



mind, I am free at all events ! And now I have sought 
you out for two reasons : first, to see and chat with you ; 
next, seriously to discuss my future life. And I may as 
well say at once that I wish you to share it. I have 
missed you sadly every day. I do not know what I 
find in you, for in point of fact you are but a dry fel- 
low, and more contradictious than often suits me. But 
in spite of all, I felt a certain longing for you all the time 
I was away. I have come to an understanding with 
my father, not without hot discussion and subsequent 
coolness. And now I repeat my former ofter — come 
with me. Over the waters to England, across the seas, 
anywhere and everywhere. We will together ponder and 
decide upon what to undertake. We are both free now, 
and the world is open to us !" 

Anton threw his arm round his friend's neck. " My 
dear Fritz," cried he, " we will suppose that I have ex- 
pressed all that your noble proposal causes me to feel. But 
you see for the present I have duties here." 

" According to your own most official statement, I pre- 
sume that they will not last for ever," rejoined Fink. 

" That is true, but still we are not on equal terms. See," 
said Anton, stretching out his hand, " barren as this land- 
scape is, and disagreeable the majority of its inhabitants, 
yet I look upon them with different eyes to yours. You 
are much more a citizen of the world than I, and would 
feel no great interest in the life of the State of which this 
plain and your friend are component parts, however small." 

" No, indeed," said Fink, looking in amazement at Anton. 
I have no great interest in it, and all that I now see and 
hear, makes the State, a fragment of which you so com- 



152 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



placently style yourself, appear to me anything but respect- 
able." 

" I, however, am of a different opinion," broke in Anton. 
" No one who is not compelled to do so should leave this 
country at the present time." 

"What do I hear?" cried Fink in amazement. 

" Look you," continued Anton ; "in one wild hour I 
discovered how my heart clung to this count^J^ Since 
then, I know why I am here. For the time being, all law 
and order is dissolved, I carry arms in self-defence, and so 
do hundreds like me in the midst of a foreign race. What- 
ever may have led me individually here, I stand here now 
as one of the conquerors who, in the behalf of free-labour 
and civilisation, have usurped the dominion of the country 
from a weaker race. There is an old warfare between us 
and the Slavonic tribes. And we feel with pride, that cul- 
ture, industry, and credit are on our side. Whatever the 
Polish proprietors around may now be — and there are many 
rich and intelligent men among them — every dollar that 
they can spend, they have made, directly or indii'cctly, by 
German intelligence. Their wild flocks are improved by 
our breeds, we erect the machinery that fills their spirit- 
casks, the acceptance their promissory-notes and lands have 
hitherto obtained, rests upon German credit and German 
confidence. The very arms they use against us are made 
in our factories, or sold by our firms. It is not by a 
cunning policy, but peacefully through our own industry, 
that we have won our real empire over this country ; and, 
therefore, he who stands here as one of the conquering 
nation, plays a coward's part if he forsakes his post at the 
present time." 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



153 



" You take a very high tone on foreign ground," replied 
Fink ; " and your own soil is trembling under your feet." 

" Who has joined this province to Germany ? " asked 
Anton, with outstretched hand. 

" The princes of your race, I admit," said Fink.. 

" And who has conquered the great district in which I 
was born ?" inquired Anton farther. 

" One who was a man indeed." 

" It was a bold agriculturist," cried Anton ; " he and 
others of his race. By force or cunning, by treaty or 
invasion, in one way or other, they got possession of the 
land at a time when, in the rest of Germany, almost every- 
thing was effete and dead. They managed their land like 
bold men and good farmers, as they were. They have 
combined decayed or dispersed races into a state ; they 
have made their home the central point for millions, and, 
out of the raw material of countless insignificant sovereign- 
ties, have created a living power." 

" All that has been," said Fink ; " that was the work of 
a past generation." 

"They laboured for themselves, indeed, while creating 
us," agreed Anton ; " but now we have come into being, 
and a new German nation has arisen. Now we demand of 
them, that they acknowledge our young life. It will be 
difficult to them to do this, just because they are accustomed 
to consider their collective lands as the domain of their 
sword. Who can say when the conflict between us and 
them will be ended 1 perhaps we may long have to curse the 
ugly apparitions it will evoke. But end as it will, I am 
convinced, as I am of the light of day, that the State which 
they have constructed will not fall back again into its ori- 



1.54 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



ginal chaos. If you had lived much amongst the lower 
classes, as I have done of late yeare, you would believe me. 
We are still poor as a nation — our strength is still small ; 
but every year we are working our way upwards, every year 
our intelligence, wellbeing, and fellow-feeling increases. At 
this moment we here, on the border, feel like brothers. 
Those in the interior may quarrel, but we are one, and our 
cause is pure." 

" Well done," said Fink, nodding approval : " that was 
spoken like a thorough German. The wintrier the time, 
the greener the hope. From all this, Master Wohlfart, I 
perceive that you have no inclination at present to go with 
me." 

" I cannot," answered Anton with emotion ; " do not be 
angry with me because of it." 

" Hear me," laughed Fink ; " we have changed parts 
since our separation. When I left you a few years ago, I 
was like the wild ass in the desert, who scents a far-off 
fountain. I hoped to emerge out of my prosy life with you, 
into green pastures, and all I found was a nasty swamp. 
And now I come back to you wearied out, and find you 
playing a bold game with fate. You have more life about 
you than you had. I can't say that of myself. Perhaps 
the reason may be that you have had a home, I never had. 
However, we have had enough of wisdom ; come and in- 
struct me in your mode of warfare. Let me have a look 
at your squatters, and show me, if you can, a square foot 
of ground on this charming property, in which one does 
not sink up to one's knees in sand." 

Meanwhile, preparations were going on at the castle for 
the stranger. The Baron made one servant ascertain that 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



155 



there was a sufficiency of red and white wine in the cellar, 
and scolded another for not having had the broken har- 
ness repaired. The Baroness ordered a dress to be taken 
out, which she had not worn since her arrival ; and Lenore 
thought with secret anxiety about the haughty aristocrat, 
who had struck her as so imposing at the time of the 
dancing-lessons, and whose image had often risen before her 
since then. 

Below stairs, the excitement was no less, for, excepting 
a few passing callers on business, this was the first visitor. 
The faithful cook determined to venture upon an artistic 
dish, but in this wretched country the materials were not 
to be had. She thought of killing a few fowls out of the 
farmyard ; but that measure was violently opposed by Suska, 
a little Pole, Lenore's confidential maid, who wept over the 
determined character of the cook, and threatened to call 
the young lady, till the former came to her senses, and sent 
off a barefooted boy to the forester's in all haste, to ask for 
something out of the common way. A sudden onslaught 
was made upon spiders and dust; and a room got ready 
near Anton's, into which Lenore's little sofa, her mother's 
arm-chair, and carpet, were carried to keep up the family 
dignity. 

Fink, little guessing the disturbance his arrival occasioned, 
sauntered over the fields with Anton in a more cheerful 
mood than he had known for long. He spoke of his ex- 
periences, of the refinements in money -making, and the 
giant growth of the Xew World. And Anton heard with 
delight, a deep abhorrence of the iniquities in which he had 
been involved, break out in the midst of his jokes. 

" Life is on an immense scale over there, it is true," said 



156 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



he ; " but it was in its whirl that I first learned to appre- 
ciate the blessings of the Fatherland." 

While thus talking, they returned to the castle to change 
their dress. Anton had merely time to glance in amaze- 
ment at the arrangements of Fink's bedroom, before they 
were summoned to the Baroness. Now that the anxieties 
about domestic arrangements were over, and the lamps shed 
their mild radiance through the room, the family felt them- 
selves cheerfully excited by the visit of this man of fashion. 
Once more, as of yore, there was the easy tone of light 
surface-talk, the delicate attention which gives to each the 
sense of contributing to another's enjoyment, the old fonns, 
perhaps the old subjects of conversation. And Fink solved 
the problem ever offered by a new circle to a guest, with 
the readiness which the rogue had always at his command 
when he chose. He gave to each and all the impression 
that he thoroughly enjoyed their society. He treated the 
Baron with respectful familiarity, the Baroness with defer- 
ence, Lenore with straightforward openness. He seemed 
to take pleasure in addressing her, and soon overcame her 
embarrassment. The family felt that he was one of them- 
selves ; there was a freemasonry between them. Even Anton 
wondered how it came about that Fink, the newly-arrived 
guest, appeared the old friend of the house, and he the 
stranger. And again something of the reverence arose 
within him which, as a youth, he had always felt for the 
elegant, distinguished, and exclusive. But this was a mere 
shadow passing over his better judgment. 

When Fink rose to retire, the Baron declared with 
genuine cordiality how gladly he would have him remain 
their guest ; and when he was gone, the Baroness remarked 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



157 



how well the English style of dress became him, and what 
a distinguished-looking man he was. Lenore made no re- 
mark upon him, but she was more talkative than she had 
been for a long time past. She accompanied her mother to 
her bedroom, sat down by the bedside of the weary one, 
and began merrily to chat away, not, indeed, about their 
guest, but about many subjects of former interest, till her 
mother kissed her brow, and said, " That will do, my child ; 
go to bed, and do not dream." 

Fink stretched himself comfortably on the sofa. " This 
Lenore is a glorious woman," cried he in ecstasy ; " simple, 
open; none of the silly enthusiasm of your German girls 
about her. Sit an hour with me, as of old, Anton Woh]- 
fart, baronial rent-receiver in a Slavonic Sahara. I say, 
you are in such a romantic position, that my hair still 
bristles with amazement. You have often stood by me in 
my scrapes of former days, as my rational guardian angel; 
now you are yourself in the midst of madness ; and, as I at 
present enjoy the advantage of being in my right mind, my 
conscience forbids me to leave you in such confusion." 

"Fritz, dear friend!" cried Anton joyfully. 

" Well, then ! " said Fink ; " you see that I wish to remain 
with you for a while. Now, I want you to consider how 
this is to be done. You can easily manage it with the 
ladies ; but the Baron?" 

" You have heard," replied Anton, " that he esteems it a 
fortunate chance which brings a knight like you to his lonely 
castle ; only" — he looked doubtfully around the room — 
"you must learn to put up with many things." 

" Hmm — I understand," said Fink ; " you are become 
economical." 



158 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



" Just SO," sidd Anton. " If I could fill sacks with the 
yellow sand of the forest, and sell it as wheat, I should 
have to sell many and many sacks before I could put even 
a small capital into our purse." 

" Where you have pushed yourself in as purse-bearer, I 
could well suppose the purse an empty one," said Fink 
drily. 

" Yes," replied Anton, " my strong-box is an old dressing- 
case, and, I assure you, it could hold more than it does. 
I often feel an unconquerable envy of Mr. Purzel and his 
chalk in the counting-house. Could I but once have the 
good fortune to behold a row of grey linen bags ! As to 
bank-notes and a portfolio of stocks, I dare not even think 
of them." 

Fink whistled a march. " Poor lad," said he. " Yet 
there is a large estate and a regular farm-establishment, 
which must either bring in or take out. What do you live 
upon, then?" 

" That is one of the mysteries of the ladies, which I 
hardly dare to disclose. Our horses munch diamonds." 

Fink shrugged his shoulders. " But is it possible that 
Rothsattel can have come to this?" 

Anton then sketched, with some reserve, the Baron's 
circumstances, speaking enthusiastically, at the same time, 
of the noble resignation of the Baroness, and the healthy 
energy of Lenore. 

" I see," said Fink, " that things are still worse than I 
supposed. How is it possible that you can carry on such 
a farm? The birds of the air are rich compared to you." 

" As things are," continued Anton, " we may contrive to 
struggle on till quieter times, till the judicial sale of the 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



150 



family estate. The creditors will not press now, and law- 
yers are^ almost without work. The Baron cannot manage 
this estate without a large capital, but neither can he give 
it up at present without forfeiting the little that its sale 
may hereafter bring ; and, besides, the family have no other 
roof over their heads. All my endeavours, during the last 
weeks, to persuade them to leave this province, have been 
in vain. They are desperately resolved to await their fate 
here. The Baron's pride objects to a return to his former 
neighbourhood, and the ladies will not leave him." 

" Then at least send them to the neighbouring town, and 
do not expose them to the assault of every drunken band 
of boors." 

" I have done what I could ; I am powerless in this 
respect," replied Anton gloomily. 

" Then, my son, alloAv me to tell you that your warlike 
apparatus is not very encouraging. With the dozen or two 
that you can collect, you will hardly keep off an invasion 
of rascals. You cannot even defend the premises v/ith that 
handful, to say nothing of covering the ladies' escape. 
Have you no prospect of procuring any soldiers 1 " 

" None," replied Anton. 

"A thoroughly comfortable, cheerful prospect!" cried 
Fink. " And in spite of it, you have sown your fields, and 
the little farm works on. I have heard from Karl how it 
looked when you came, and what improvements you have 
made ; you have managed capitally. No American, no man 
of any other country, would have done the same ; in a 
desperate case, commend me to the German. But the ladies 
and your infant establishment must be better protected. 
Hire twenty able-bodied men ; they will guard the house." 



160 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



" You forget that we are as little able to feed twenty idle 
mouths as is the owl on the tower." 

" Let them work ! " cried Fink ; " you have here land 
enough to employ a hundred hands. Have you no swamps 
to drain, or ditches to dig 1 There is a row of wretched 
puddles yonder." 

" That is work for another season," replied Anton ; " the 
ground is too wet now." 

" Have a hundred acres of forest sown or planted. Does 
the brook hold out in the summer ?" 

" I hear that it does," replied Anton. 

" Then turn it to some account." 

" Do not forget," said Anton, smiling, " how difficult it 
would be to get good workmen with military abilities, to 
come just now into our ill-renowned district." 

" To the devil with your objections !" cried Fink; " send 
Karl into a German district, and he will hire you plenty of 
people." 

" You have already heard that we have no money. The 
Baron is not in a position to carry on greater improvements, 
with increased expenditure." 

" Let me do it then," replied Fink ; " you can repay me 
when you are able." 

" It is doubtful whether we should ever be able." 
Well, then, he need never know what the men 
cost." 

" He is blind," replied Anton, with a slight tone of re- 
proach ; " and I am in his service, and bound to lay all 
my accounts before him. Certainly, he might accept a 
loan from you after a few scruples, for his views of his 
circumstances vaiy with his moods. But the ladies have 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



IGl 



no such illusions. Your presence would be an hourly 
humiliation to them, if they were conscious of owing addi- 
tional comforts to your means." 

" And yet they have accepted the greater sacrifice that 
you have made for them," said Fink gravely. 

" Perhaps they consider that my humble services entail 
on me no sacrifice," replied Anton, blushing. " They are 
accustomed to me as the Baron's agent. But you are their 
guest, and their self-respect will endeavour to conceal from 
you, as much as possible, the difhculties of their position. 
To make your apartment habitable, they have plundered 
their own ; the very sofa on which you lie is from tlie 
young lady's bedroom." 

Fink looked eagerly at the sofa, and settled himself on 
it again. "As it does not suit me," said he, " to travel 
off immediately, you will have the goodness to point out 
to me some way of living here with propriety. Tell me, 
off-hand, something about the mortgages, and the prospects 
of the estate ; assume for the moment that I am to be the 
unfortunate purchaser of this Paradise." 

Anton made the statement required. 

" That, at all events, is not so desperate," said Fink. 
" Now hear my proposal : you cannot go on as at present ; 
this restricted establishment is too undesirable for all par- 
ties, most of all for you. The property may be fearfully de- 
vastated, but still it seems to me possible to make something 
of it. Whether you are the people to do so or not, I will 
not decide ; though if you, Anton, are willing to devote some 
years of your life to it, and to sacrifice yourself still further 
to the interests of others, it is not impossible that, in more 
tranquil times, you may succeed in procuring the necessary 

VOL. IT. L 



162 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



capital. Meantime, I will advance — say fifteen thousand 
dollars, and the Baron will give me a mortgage for that 
sum. This loan will not much diminish your income, and 
it will make it easier for you to get over this bad year." 

Anton rose and paced up and down uneasily. 

" It won't do," cried he at length ; " we cannot accept 
your generous proposal. Look you, Fritz ; a year ago, be- 
fore I knew the man as well as I do now, I was intensely 
anxious to lead our principal to take an interest in the 
Baron's affairs, and if you had made me this offer then, I 
should have been delighted ; but now I should consider it 
unjust to you and to the ladies to accept your proposal." 

" Shall the sofa out of Lenore's bedroom be defiled by 
the tobacco-ashes of your guests 1 I do it now ; later it 
will be done by the Polish scythe-bearers." 

" We must go through with it," replied Anton mourn- 
fully. 

" Headstrong boy !" cried Fink ; " you shall not get rid 
of me thus. And now off with you, stiffnecked Tony !" 

After this conversation, Fink did not allude further to 
his projected loan, but he had several confidential conversa- 
tions in the course of the following day with Karl, and when 
evening came, he said to the Baron, " May I request you to 
lend me your horse to-morrow ? He is an old acquaintance 
of mine. I should like to ride over your property. Do 
not be angry with me, dear lady, if I fail to make my 
appearance at dinner." 

" He is rich ; he is come here to buy," said the Baron to 
himself. " This Wohlfart has told his friend that there 
is a bargain to be made in this quarter. The speculation 
is beginning, — I must be cautious." 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



163 



CHAPTER VIIL 

TT was a sunny morning in April ; one of those genial 
growing days that expand the leaf-bud on the trees, 
and quicken the throbs of the human heart. Lenore went 
with hat and parasol out into the farm-yard, and walked 
through the cow-houses. The horned creatures looked full 
at her with their large eyes, and raised their broad damp 
noses, some of them lowing in expectation of receiving 
something good at her hands. 

" Is I\Ir. Wohlfart here V asked Lenore of the baiUff, 
who was hurrying by to the stable. 

"He is in the castle, my lady." 

" His guest is with him, I suppose ?" she further in- 
quired. 

" Herr von Fink rode off this morning early to Neudorf. 
He can't rest in the house, and is always happiest on horse- 
back. He should have been a hussar." 

Wlien Lenore heard in which direction Herr von Fink 
had ridden, she walked slowly in a different one to avoid 
meeting him, and crossed the brook and the fields to the 
wood. She gazed at the blue sky, and revi\ang earth. 
The winter wheat and the green grass looked so cheerful 
that her heart laughed within her. The spring had breathed 



164 



DEBIT AND CKEDIT. 



on the willows along the brook ; the yellow branches were 
full of sap, and the first leaves bursting out. Even the 
sand did not annoy her to-day. She stepped rapidly 
through the expanse of it that girdled the forest, and hur- 
ried on through the firs to the cottage. The whole wood 
was alive with hum and cry. Wherever a group of other 
trees rose amidst the firs, the loud chirp of the chaffinch 
was heard, or the eager twitter of some little newly-wedded 
birds, disputing about the position of their nest. The beetle 
in his black cuirass droned around the buds of the chestnut ; 
at times a wild bee, newly wakened from its winter sleep, 
came humming by ; even brown butterflies fluttered over 
the bushes, and wherever the ground sunk into hollows, 
these were gay with the white and yellow stars of the ane- 
mone and the primrose. Lenore took off her straw-hat, 
and let the mild breeze play about her temples, while she 
drew in long draughts of forest fragrance. She often stopped 
and listened to the sounds around her — contemplated the 
tender leaves of the trees, stroked the white bark of the 
birch, stood by the rippling fountain before the forester" s 
house, and caressed the little firs in the hedge, which stood 
as close and regular as the bristles in a brush. She thought 
she had never seen the forest so cheerful before. The dogs 
barked furiously, she heard the fox rattle his chain, and 
looked up at the bullfinch, who jumped to and fro in his 
cage, and tried to bark like his superiors. 

" Hush, Hector ! hush, Bergmann !" (.-ried Lenore, knock- 
ing at the door. The loud barking changed into a friendly 
welcome. As she opened the door, Bergmann, the otter 
hound, came straddling towards her, wagging his tail im- 
moderately, and Hector made a succession of audacious leaps, 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



165 



while even tlie fox crept back into its kennel, laid its nose 
on its trough, and looked slyly at her. But she saw a 
horse's head on the other side of the hedge ; he that she 
had meant to avoid was actually here. For a moment she 
remained irresolute, and was going to turn away when the 
forester came out. Now, then, retreat was impossible, and 
she foUow^ed him in. Fink stood in the middle of the 
room, in the full light of the rays which fell through the 
small panes. He advanced politely. " I came to make 
acquaintance," said he, pointing to the forester ; " and here 
I am admiring your stout-hearted vassal, and his comfort- 
able home." The forester placed a chair, Lenore could 
but take it. Fink leant against the brown wall, and looked 
at her with undisguised admiration. " You are a wonder- 
ful contrast to this old boy, and to the whole room," said 
he, glancing round. " Pray, make no sign with your para- 
sol ; all these stuffed creatures only wait your command 
to come to life again, and lay themselves at your feet. 
Look at the heron yonder, raising its head already." 

"It is only the effect of the sunshine," said the forester 
comfortingly. 

Lenore laughed. " We know what that means," cried 
Fink ; " you are in the plot ; you are the gnome of this 
queen. If there be no magic here, let me sleep out the 
rest of my days. One M^ave of that wand, and the beams 
of this great bird-cage will open, and you fly with your 
whole suite out into the sunshine ! Doubtless your palace 
is on the summit of the fir-trees without ; there are the 
pleasant halls in which your throne stands, mighty mistress 
of this place, fair-haired goddess of spring !" 

" My comfort is," said Lenore, somewhat confused, 



166 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



" that it is not I who occasion these ideas, but the 
pleasure you take in the ideas themselves. I only chance 
to be the unworthy subject of your fancy. You are a 
poet." 

" Fie !" cried Fink; "how can you detract from me so 
much ! I a poet ! Except a few merry sailors' songs, I 
do not know a single piece of poetry by heart. The only 
lines I care for are some fragments of the old school ; for 
example, ' Hurra ! hurra ! hop, hop, hop,' in a poem which, 
if I am not mistaken, bears your name. And even to these 
classic lines I have to object, that they rather represent the 
material trot of a cart-horse, than the course of a phantom 
steed. But we must not be too exact with these pen-and-ink 
gentry. Well tlien, with this single exception, you will find 
no poetry in me ; except a few of the great Schiller's strik- 
ing lines : ^o^ 55Ii^, ba^ ifi fa bte ©uf^et uon 53(afett?{^. 
Tliere's much truth in that passage." 

" You are making fun of me," said Lenore, somewhat 
offended. 

" Indeed I am not," asseverated Fink. " How can any 
one make or read poems in these days of ours, when we are 
constantly living them 1 Since I have been back in the 
old countr}^, scarce an hour passes witliout my seeing or 
hearing something that will be celebrated by knights of 
the pen, a hundred years hence. Glorious material here for 
art of every kind ! If I had the misfortune to be a poet, 
I should now be obliged to rush out in a fit of inspiration, 
hide myself in the kennel ; and, at a safe distance from 
all exciting causes, write a passionate sonnet, while the 
fox kept biting my heels. But as I am no poet, I prefer 
to enjoy the beautiful when it is before me, to putting 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



167 



it into rhyme." And again he looked admiringly at tlie 
lady. 

" Lenore !" cried a harsh voice from a corner of the 
room. Lenore and Fink looked in amazement at each 
other. 

" He has learnt it," said the forester, pointing to the 
Taven ; " in a general way he has left off learning, and sits 
there sulking with every one, but still he has learnt that." 

The raven sitting on the stove bent down his head, and 
cist a shrewd glance at both the guests, kept moving his 
leak as though speaking to himself, and alternately nod- 
ding and shaking his head. 

" The birds already begin to speak," cried Fink, going 
up to the raven ; " the ceiling will soon fly off, and I shall 
be left alone with Hector and Bergmann. Now, sorcerer, 
does the water boil ? " 

The forester looked into the stove. " It boils famously," 
he said ; " but what is to be done next ?" 

" We will ask the lady to help us," replied Fink. " I 
have," said he, turning to Lenore, " already been with your 
family-trapper as far as the distillery and back, and I have 
brought what always serves me on my travels for break- 
fast and dinner." He took out a few tablets of chocolate. 
" We will concoct something like a beverage with this, if 
you do not disdain to lend us your aid. I propose that we 
try to mix this with water as well as we can. It would be 
charming of you to vouchsafe an opinion as to how we 
ought to set about it." 

" Have you a grater or a mortar!" inquired Lenore, 
laughing. 

" I have neither of those machines," replied the forester. 



168 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



" A hammer, then," suggested Fink ; " and a clean sheet 
of paper." 

The hammer was soon brought, but the paper was onlr 
found after a long search. Fink undertook to pound tlie 
chocolate, the forester brought fresh water from the spring, 
Lenore washed out some cups, and Fink hammered away 
with all his heart. " This is antediluvian paper," said he, 
" thick as parchment ; it must have lain for some centuries 
in this magic hut." Lenore shook the chocolate powder into 
the saucepan, and stirred it. Then they all three sat down, 
and much enjoyed the result of their handiwork. 

The golden sunbeams shone fuller into the room, lighting 
up the bright form of the beautiful girl, and the fine face of 
tlie man opposite her ; then they fell upon the wall, and 
decked the head of the heron and the wings of the hawk. 
The raven came to the end of his soliloquy, and fluttered 
from his seat, hopping about the lady's feet, and croaking 
out again, " Lenore ! Lenore ! " 

Lenore now conversed at her ease with the stranger, 
and the forester every now and then threw in a suitable 
remark. They spoke of the district and its inhabitants. 

" Wherever I have met Poles in foreign lands, I have 
got on very well with them," said Fink. " I am sorry that 
these disturbances prevent one visiting them in their own 
homes ; for, certainly, one best learns to know men from 
seeing them there." 

" It must be delightful to see so many different scenes 
and people," cried Lenore. 

" It is only at first that the diff'erence strikes you. 
When one has observed them awhile, one comes to the con- 
clusion that they are everywhere much alike. A little 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



IG!) 



diversity in the colour of the skin, and otlier details ; but 
love and hate, laughter and tears, these the traveller finds 
everywhere, and everywhere these are the same. About 
twenty weeks ago, I was half a hemisphere off, in the log- 
hut of an American, on a barren prairie. It was just the 
same as here. We sat at a stout rustic table like this, 
and my host w^as as like this old gentlemen as one egg 
is to another, and the light of the winter sun fell in 
just the same way through the small window. But if 
men have so little to distinguish them, women are still 
more alike in essentials. They only differ in one trifling 
particular." 

" And what is that ? " asked the forester. 

" They are rather more or less neat," said Fink care- 
lessly ; " tliat is the whole difference." 

Lenore rose offended at his tone, more than at his 
words. 

" It is time that I shoidd return," said she coldly, tying 
on her straw-hat. 

" When you rose, all the brightness left the room," cried 
Fink. 

" It is only a cloud passing over the sun," said the forester, 
going to the window ; " that causes the shadow." 

" Nonsense," replied Fink ; " it is the straw-hat hiding 
the lady's hair that does it ; the light came from those 
golden locks." 

They left the house, the forester locked the door, and 
each went off in different directions. 

Lenore hurried home ; the linnet sang, the thrush whistled, 
she did not heed them. She blamed herself for having 
crossed the threshold of the forester's house, and yet she 



170 



DEBIT AND CEEDIT. 



oould not turn away her thoughts from it. The stranger 
made her feel uneasy, and insecure. Was he thus daring 
because nothing was sacred to him ? or was it only through 
his extreme self-possession and self-dependence ? Ought 
she to be angry with him ? or did her sense of awkward- 
ness only arise from the folly of an inexperienced girl ? 
These questions she kept constantly asking herself, but 
alas ! she found no answer. 

When Anton wanted to send a message that evening to 
tlie shepherd, neither Karl nor any other messenger was to 
be found, so he went himself. He was not a little surprised 
to see in one of the furthest fields, through which he 
had to go, his friend Fink on horseback, and the Ger- 
man farmer and Karl busily occupied near him. Fink 
was galloping along short distances, the others placing 
black and white pegs in the ground, and taking them out 
again. And then Karl looked through a small telescope 
that he rested on his peg. " Five-and twenty-paces," cried 
Fink. 

" Two inches fall," screamed back Karl. 

" Five-and-twenty, two," said the farmer, making an 
entry in his pocket-book. 

" So you have come, have you ?" cried Fink, laughing, 
to his friend. " Wait a moment, we shall soon have done." 
Again a certain number of leaps, observations through the 
telescope, and entries in the pocket-book ; then the men 
collected their pegs, and Fink rapidly cast up the figures 
in the farmer's book. Then giving it back with a smile, 
he said, " Come on with me, Anton, I have something to 
show you. Place yourself by the brook, with your face to the 
north. There the brook forms a straight line from west to 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



171 



east, the border of the wood a semicircle. Wood and brook 
together define the segment of a circle." 
" That is evident," said Anton. 

" In olden times the brook ran differently," continued 
Fink. " It swept along the curve of the wood, and its old 
bed is still visible. If you walk along the ancient water- 
course toward the west, you come to the point where the 
old channel diverges from the new. It is the point where 
a wretched bridge crosses the brook, and the water in its 
present bed has a fall of more than a foot, strong enough 
to turn the best mill going. The ruins of some buildings 
stand near it." 

" I know the place well enough," said Anton. 

" Below the village, the old channel bends down to the 
new. It encompasses a wide plain, more than five hundred 
acres, if I can trust the paces of this horse. The whole of 
this ground slopes down from the old channel to the new. 
There are a few acres of meadow, and some tolerable arable 
land. The most part is sand and rough pasture, the worst 
part of the estate, as I hear." 

" I allow all that," said Anton, with spme curiosity. 

" Now, mark me. If you lead back the brook to its 
old channel, and force it to run along the bow instead of 
forming the arc of that bow, the water that now runs to 
waste will irrigate the whole plain of five hundred acres, 
and change the barren sand into green meadows." 

" You are a sharp fellow," cried Anton, excited at the 
discovery. 

" These acres, well irrigated, would yield a ton of hay 
an acre, consequently each acre would bring in a clear 
profit of five dollars, or, in other words, the five hundred 



172 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



acres would give a yearly income of two tliousand five 
hundred ; and, to bring this about, would require an outlay 
of fifteen thousand dollars at the verj' outside. This, Antoii, 
was what I had to say to you." 

Anton stood there amazed. There was no doubt that 
Fink's calculations were not made at random, either as to 
outlay or return ; and the advantageous prospect which 
such a measure opened out, occupied him so much that he 
walked on for some time in silence. " You show me 
water and pastures in the desert," said he at length. " This 
is cruel of you, for the Baron is not in a condition to cany 
out this improvement. Fifteen thousand dollars !" 

" Perhaps ten might do," said Fink sarcasticall}-. " I 
have drawn this castle in the air for you, to punish you 
for your stiffneckedness the other evening. Now let us 
speak of something else." 

At night the Baron, with an important air, summoned 
his wife and Lenore to a conference in his room. He sat 
up in his arm-chair, and said with a greater degree of satis- 
faction than he had for a long time evinced,—" It was 
easy to discover that this visit of Fink's was not exactly 
accidental, nor occasioned by his friendship for Mr. Wohlfart, 
as the young men both made it appear : you two pretended 
to be wiser than I ; but I was right after all, and the visit 
concerns us more nearly than our agent." 

The Baroness cast a terrified glance at her daughter, but 
Lenore's eyes were so fully fixed on her father, tliat her 
mother was comforted. 

" And what do you suppose has brought this gentleman 
here ?" continued the Baron. 

Lenore shook her head and said at last — " Fatlier, 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



173 



HeiT von Fink has long been most intimate with Wohlfart, 
and they have not seen each other for some years. How 
natural that Fink should take advantage of his slight 
acquaintance with us to spend a few weeks with his dearest 
friend ! Why should we seek any other reason for his 
presence '?" 

" You speak as young people always do. Men are less 
influenced by ideal impressions, and more ruled by their 
own interest, tlian your juvenile wisdom apprehends." 

" Interest !" said the Baroness. 

" What is there surprising in it V continued the Baron. 
" Both are tradespeople. Fink knows enough of the 
charms of business to lose no opportunity of making a good 
bargain. I will tell you why he is come here. Our excel- 
lent Wohlfart has written to him stating — ' Here is an 
estate, and this estate has an owner who is at present 
unable to overlook its management himself There is some- 
thing to be made here. You have money, therefore come : 
I am your friend : some of the profits will naturally fall 
to my share.' " 

The Baroness gazed stedfastly at her husband, but Lenore 
sprang up and cried, with all the energy of a deeply wounded 
heart, — Father, I will not hear you speak thus of a man 
who has never shown us anything but the most unselfish 
devotion. His fri(^ndship for us is such as to enable him 
to bear with boundless patience the privations of this lonely 
place, and the disagreeables of his present position." 

" His friendship ?" said the Baron ; " I never laid claim 
to so great a distinction." 

" We have done so, though," cried Lenore impetuously. 
"At a time when my mother found no one else to stand 



174 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



by US, Wolilfart faithfully clung to us still. From the day 
that my brother brought him to us, till this very hour, he 
has acted for you and cared for us." 

" Very well," admitted the Baron ; " I find no fault 
with his activity. I willingly allow that he keeps the 
accounts in good order, and is very industrious in return 
for a small salary. If you understood men's motives better, 
you would hear me more patiently. After all, there is no 
harm in what he has done. I want capital, and am, as 
you know, a good deal embarrassed besides. What should 
prevent proposals being made to me, which would advan- 
tage others and do me no injury V 

" For God's sake, father, what proposals do you mean 1 
It is false that Wohlfart has any other interest at heart 
but yours." 

The Baroness beckoned to her daughter to be silent. " If 
Fink wishes to purchase the estate," said she, " I shall hail 
his resolve as a blessing ; the greatest blessing, beloved 
Oscar, that could happen to you now." 

" We are not talking of buying," replied the Baron. 
" I shall think twice before I give away the estate in 
such a hurry under the present circumstances. Fink's 
proposal is of a different kind ; he wishes to become my 
tenant." 

Lenore sank down speechless in her chair. 

" He wishes to rent from me five hundred acres of level 
ground, in order to convert them into profitable meadows. 
I do not deny that he has spoken openly and fairly on the 
subject. He has proved to me in figures how great his 
gains would be, and offered to pay the first year's rent at 
once. Nay more, he has offered to give up his tenancy in 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



175 



five years, and make over the meadows to me, provided I 
repay him the expenses incurred." 

" Gracious Heaven ! " cried Lenore ; "you have surely 
refused this generous proposal." 

" I have required time for deliberation," replied the 
Baron complacently. " The offer is, as I have already said, 
not exactly disadvantageous to myself ; at the same time, 
it might be imprudent to concede such advantages to a 
stranger, when, in a year or so, I might be able to carry 
out this improvement on my own account." 

" You will never be able to do so, my poor, my beloved 
husband," cried the Baroness, weeping, and throwing her 
arms about the Baron's neck, while he sank down anni- 
hilated, and laid his head on her breast like a little child. 

" I must know whether Wohlfart knows of this proposal, 
and what he says to it ! " cried Lenore decidedly ; " and if 
you allow me, father, I will at once send for him." As 
the Baron did not reply, she rang the bell for the servant, 
and left the room to meet him at the door. 

Fink sat, meanwhile, in Anton's room, amusing himself 
with rallying his friend. "Since you have given up 
smoking, your good angel has deserted you, after having so 
torn his hair at your stififneckedness, that there he is now 
sitting bewigged amongst the angel choir. As for you, 
your punishment is to be the having your soul sewed up 
in a turnip-leaf, and daily smoked by the smallest imps in 
the pit." 

" Have you been a member of some pious fraternity in 
America, that you are so well acquainted with the pro- 
ceedings of the spiritual world ?" inquired Anton, looking 
up from his account-book. 



176 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



" Silence," said Fink ; " formerly there were, at least, 
occasional hours when you could trifle too ; but now you 
are always carrying on your everlasting book-keeping, and, 
by Tantalus, all for nothing — for nothing at all !" 

The servant entered, and summoned Anton to the Baron. 

As the latter left the room, Fink called out, " Apropos, 
I have offered to rent tlie five hundred acres from the 
Baron at two dollars and a half the acre — the land to be 
made over in five years' time, on repayment of the capital 
expended, either in money, or by a mortgage. Off with 
you, my boy 1" 

When Anton entered the Baron's apartment, he found 
the Baroness at her husband's side, his hand in hers, while 
Lenore walked restlessly up and down the room. " Have 
you heard of the oflfer that Herr von Fink has made to my 
father asked she. 

" He has this moment told me of it," replied Anton. 
The Baron made a face. 

" And is it your opinion that my fiither ought to accept 
the offer 

Anton was silent. " It is an advantageous one for the 
estate," said he at length, with considerable effort. " The 
outlay of capital is essential to its improvement." 

" I don't want to be told that," replied Lenore impa- 
tiently ; " but to know whether you, as our friend, advise 
us to accept this ofier 1 " 

" I do not," said Anton. 

" I knew that you would say so," cried Lenore, stepping 
behind her father's chair. 

"You do not; and wherefore, if you please?" inquired 
the Baron. 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



177 



" The present time, which makes all things uncertain, 
seems to me little fitted for so bold a speculation. Besides 
which, I believe Fink to be influenced by motives which do 
him honour, but which would render it painful to the 
Baron to accept his ofi"er." 

" You will allow me to be the judge of what I ought 
or ought not to accept," said the Baron. " As a mere 
question of business, this measure would be advantageous 
to both parties." 

"That I must allow," said Anton. 

" And as to the views that people may take of political 
prospects, that is merely a personal matter. He who does 
not allow his undertakings to be interfered with, is more 
praiseworthy than he who, through a vague fear, postpones 
advantageous measures." 

" That, too, I allow." 

" Would this undertaking lead to Herr von Fink per- 
manently taking up his abode in our neighbourhood 1 " 
asked the Baroness. 

"I do not think so ; he would make over the task to a 
farmer, and his temperament is sure to send him wandering 
off again. As to his motives, I can but surmise. I believe 
them to be mainly the respect and regard he feels for 
your family, and possibly the wish to have some right to 
remain with you in these unquiet times. The very danger 
that would make this country undesirable to others, has a 
charm for him." 

" And w^ould you not be glad to retain your friend with 
youf inquired the Baroness further. 

"Till to-day I had no hope of it," answered Anton. 
" Formerly, my task used to be that of holding him back 

VOL. II. M 



178 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



from precipitate resolves, and from staking much upon a 
sudden fancy." 

" You consider, then," said the Baron, " that your friend 
has been precipitate in his proposal to me 1 " 

" His proposal is a bold one, so far as he himself is 
concerned," returned Anton significantly ; " and there is 
something in it. Baron, which does not satisfy me on your 
account, though I should find a difficulty in defining it." 

" Thank you," said the Baron ; " we will discuss the 
subject no further ; there is no huiTy about it." Anton 
bowed and left the room. 

Lenore stood silently at the window, repeating to herself 
his last words : " I should find a difficulty in defining it ;" 
while a crowd of painful thoughts and forebodings rushed 
through her mind. She was angry with her father's weak- 
ness, and indignant with Fink for presuming to offer them 
assistance. Whether his offer were accepted or not, their 
relations to their guest were changed by it. They were 
indebted to him. He was no longer a stranger. He had 
ir^-^uded into their private griefs. She thought of the curl 
of his lip, of the contraction of his eyebrows ; she fancied 
she heard him laughing at her father and at her. He had 
entered their house in his off-hand way, and now carelessly 
seized the reins, and meant to direct their fortunes as he liked. 
Perhaps her parents might owe their deliverance to one of 
his arbitrary caprices. This morning she could feel at her 
ease with him, brilliant man of the world as he was ; they 
were on equal terms, but how should they meet henceforth 1 
Her pride rebelled against one whose influence she so sen- 
sibly felt. She determined to treat him coldly, she made 
castles in the air as to how he would speak, and how she 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



179 



would reply, and her fancy kept flying round the image of 
the stranger, as the scared mother-bird does around the 
enemy of her nest. 

" And what will you do, Oscar V inquired the Baroness. 

" My father cannot accept," cried Lenore energetically. 

" What is your opinion ?" said the Baron, turning to his 
wife. 

" Choose what will soonest set you free from this estate, 
— from the care, the gloom, the insecurity which are 
secretly preying on you. Let us go to some distant land, 
where men's passions are less hideously developed. Let us 
go far away ; we shall be more peaceful in the narrowest 
circumstances than we are here." 

" Thus, then, you advise the acceptance of his offer," 
said the Baron. " He who rents a part will soon under- 
take the whole." 

" And pay us a pension !" cried Lenore. 

" You are a foolish girl," said her father. " You both 
excite yourselves, which is unnecessary. The offer is too 
important to be refused or accepted off-hand. I will 
weigh the matter more narrowly. Your Wohlfart will 
have plenty of time to examine the conditions," added he 
more good-humouredly. 

"Listen, dear father, to what Wohlfart has already 
spoken, and respect what he keeps back." 

"Yes, yes, he shall be listened to," said the Baron. 
" And now good-night, both of you. I will re-consider the 
matter." 

" He will accept," said Lenore to her mother ; "he will 
accept, because Wohlfart has dissuaded him, and because 
the other offers him ready money. Mother, why did you 



180 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



not say that we could never look the stranger in the face 
if he gave us alms in our very house 1 " 

" I have no longer any pride or any hope," replied her 
mother in a low voice. 

As Anton slowly re-entered his room, Fink called out 
cheerfully, " How goes it, man of business 1 Am I to be 
tenant, or will the Baron himself undertake the matter? 
He would like it dearly. In that case, I lay claim to 
compensation — free room for myself and my horse as long 
as they play at war hereabouts!" 

" He will accept your offer," replied Anton, " though I 
advised him not." 

"You did!" cried Fink. "Yes, indeed, it's just like 
you. When a drowning mouse clings to a raft, you make 
it a long speech on the imperative nature of moral obliga- 
tions, and hurl it back into the water." 

" You are not so innocent as a raft," said Anton, laughing. 

"Hear me," continued Fink; "I have no superfluous 
sentimentality; but in this particular case, I should not 
consider it friendly in you, to wish to edify me by a lecture. 
Is it then so unpleasant to have me to help you through 
these confounded times?" 

" I have known you long enough, you rogue," said Anton, 
" to feel sure that your friendship for me has had a good 
deal to do with your offer." 

" Indeed," said Fink sarcastically ; " and how much, 
pray ? It is a good-for-nothing age : however virtuously one 
may act, one is so dissected, that virtue turns to egotism 
under the knife of malice." 

Anton stroked his cheek. " I do not dissect," said he. 
" You have made a generous offer, and I am not discon- 



DEBIT AND CllEDIT. 



181 



tented with you, but with myself. In my first delight at 
your arrival, I disclosed more about the Baron's circum- 
stances, and the ladies' anxieties, than was right. I myself 
introduced you into the mysteries of the family, and you 
have used the knowledge you acquired from me in your 
own dexterous way. It is I who have entangled you with 
the affairs of this family, and your capital with this dis- 
turbed country. That all this should have happened so 
suddenly, is against my every feeling; and I am amazed 
at my own incaution, in having brought it about." 

" Of course," laughed Fink, "it is your sweetest enjoy- 
ment to be anxious about those around you." 

" It has twice happened to me," continued Anton, " whose 
caution you so often laugh at, to speak unguardedly to 
strangers about the circumstances of this family. The first 
time that I asked help for the Rothsattels it was refused 
me, and this more than anything else led me out of the 
counting-house hither ; and now that my second indiscretion 
has procured the help I did not ask, what will the conse- 
quences be?" 

"To lead you hence back into the counting-house," 
laughed Fmk. "Did one ever see such a subtle Hamlet 
in jack-boots'? If I could only find out whether you secretly 
desire or fear such a logical conclusion !" Then drawing a 
piece of money out of his pocket, he said, " Heads or tails, 
Anton? Blonde or brunette? Let us throw." 

" You are no longer in Tenessee, you soul-seller ! " laughed 
Anton, against his will. 

" It should have been an honourable game," said Fink 
coolly. " I meant to give you the choice. Remember that 
hereafter." 



182 



DEBIT AXD CREDIT. 



CHAPTER IX. 



rrHE Baron accepted. Indeed it was difficult to resist 
Fink's offer : even Anton acknowledged that. But the 
Baron did not come to this resolve in a straightforward 
way. His mind underwent many oscillations. It was dis- 
agreeable to him to let a stranger make so considerable a 
profit out of lands of his ; and when he had confessed with 
a sigh, that it was impossible to prevent this, it was further 
disagreeable to him, that Fink should have ventured upon 
such a proposition as this the third day after his arrival ; 
and he felt that Lenore's continued opposition was well- 
grounded. At these times, he saw himself poor, dependent, 
under Anton's management, and was embittered almost to 
the point of giving up the plan. But after such diver- 
gences, he always came back to the main point — his own 
interest. He knew well how great a help the rent paid 
beforehand would be, during the cun-ent year, and he fore- 
saw that the outlay of capital would, in the course of a few 
years, double the value of the estate. Then, he could not but 
admit to himself, that, at the present disturbed time, Fink 
would be a desirable associate. However, he preserved a 
rigid silence towards his wife and daughter ; good-naturedly 
threw back Lenore's attempts to bring him to a decision ; 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



183 



and was more dignified than usual in bearing during this 
period of deliberation. 

After a few days, he called his old servant, and said in 
strict confidence, "Find out, John, when Mr. Wohlfart 
goes out, and Herr von Fink remains alone in his room, 
and then go to the latter, and announce me to him." 

The Baron being accordingly privately introduced into 
Fmk's apartment, told him in a friendly way, that he 
accepted his offer, and left it to him to get the contract 
drawn up by the Rosmiu attorney. 

"All right," said Fink, shaking hands with him; "but 
have you reflected, Baron, that your kind consent obliges 
me to claim your hospitality for weeks, if not months ? For 
I consider my presence desirable, at all events till the farm- 
ing operations are fairly set going." 

" I shall be delighted," replied the Baron, " if you will 
put up with oiu- unsettled establishment. I shall take the 
liberty of setting apart some rooms for you. If you have 
a ser^'ant to whom you are accustomed, pray send for him." 

" I want no servant," said Fink, "if you will desire yoiu- 
John to keep my room in order. But I have something 
better from which I don't like to be long parted — a fine 
half-blood which is at present standing in my father's 
stable." 

" Would it not be possible to have the horse sent over 
here ?" 

" If you will allow it," said Fink, " I shall be very 
grateful to you." 

Thus, the two concluded their treaty in perfect amity ; 
and the Baron left the room with the comfortable impression 
of having made a clever bargain. 



184 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



" The matter is settled," said Fink to Anton on the re- 
turn of the latter. " Make no lamentations, for the mis- 
chief is done. I shall settle myself in two rooms in a 
corner of this wing, and see to the furnishing of them 
myself. To-morrow I am off to Rosmin, and further still. 
I am on the scent of an experienced man who can overlook 
the undertaking, and I shall bring him and a few labourers 
back with me. Can you spare me our Karl for a week or so 

" He is not easily spared; but since it must be so, I 
will do what I can to replace him. You must leave me 
abundant instructions." 

The next morning Fink rode away accompanied by the 
hussar, and things returned to their old course. The drill 
went on regularly ; patrols were sent around as before ; 
frightful reports were greedily listened to and repeated. 
Sometimes small detachments of military appeared, and the 
officers were welcome guests at the castle, telling as they 
did of the strife going on beyond the forest, and comforting 
the ladies by bold assurances that the insurrection would 
soon be put down. Anton was the only one who felt the 
heavy burden on the family-funds that their entertainment 
involved. 

Nearly a fortnight had passed away, and Fink and Karl 
were still absent. One sunny day, Lenore was busy enlarg- 
ing her plantation, where about fifty young firs and birches 
already made some show. In her straw-hat, a small spade 
in her hand, she seemed so lovely to Anton, as he was 
hurrying by, that he could not resist standing stiU to look 
at her. 

" I have you, then, at last, faithless sir," cried Lenore ; 
" for a whole week you have never given my trees a thought, 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



185 



I have been obliged to water them all alone. There is your 
spade, so come at once and help me to dig." 

Anton obediently took the spade, and valiantly began to 
turn up the sods. 

" I have seen some young junipers in the wood, perhaps 
you can make use of them," said he. 

" Yes ; on the edge of the plantation," answered Lenore, 
appeased. 

" T have had more to do these last days than usual," 
continued he. " We miss Karl everywhere." 

Lenore struck her spade deep in the ground, and bent 
down to examine the up-turned earth. " Has not your 
friend written to you yet?" inquired she in a tone of in- 
difference. 

" I hardly know what to think of his silence," said Anton, 
" the mails are not interrupted, and other letters come. I 
almost fear that some misfortune may have happened to the 
travellers." 

Lenore shook her head. " Can you imagine any mis- 
fortune happening to Herr von Fink 1 " inquired she, digging 
away. 

It is indeed, difficult to imagine," said Anton, laughing ; 
" he does not look as if he would easily allow any ill-luck 
to settle down upon him." 

" I should think not," replied Lenore curtly. 

Anton w^as silent for a while. "It is singular that we 
should not yet have talked over the change that Fink's 
remaining here will occasion," said he at length, not with- 
out some constraint, for he had a vague consciousness that 
a certain degree of embarrassment had risen up on Lenore' s 
side as well as his own — a light shadow on the bright 



186 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



grass, cast no one knows from whence. " Are you, too, 
satisfied with his sojourn here ?" 

Lenore turned away and twisted a twig in her fingers. 
" Are you satisfied V asked she in return. 

" For my part," said Anton, " I may -well be pleased 
with the presence of my friend." 

" Then T am so, too," replied Lenore, looking up ; " but 
it really is strange that Mr. Sturm should not have WTitten 
either. Perhaps," exclaimed she, " they will never return." 

" I can answer for Karl," said Anton. 

" But the other ? He looks as changeable as a cloud." 

"He is not that," replied Anton ; " if he has diffi- 
culties to contend with, all the energy of his nature awakes ; 
he is only bored by what gives him no trouble." 

Lenore was silent, and dug on more zealously than ever ; 
just then a hum of cheerful voices sounded from the farm- 
yard, and the labourers ran from their dinner to the road. 
" Mr. Sturm is coming," cried one of them to the diggers. 
A stately procession was seen moving through the village 
towards the castle. First of all came half-a-dozen men all 
dressed alike, in grey jackets, wearing broad-brimmed felt 
hats set on one side, and decorated with a green sprig, a 
light gun on their shoulder, and a sailor's cutlass at their 
sides. Behind them came a series of loaded wagons : the 
first full of shovels, spades, rakes, and wheelbarrows sym- 
metrically arranged ; the latter laden with sacks of meal, 
chests, bundles of clothes, and household furniture. The 
procession was closed by a number of men dressed like 
those above described. As they neared the castle, Karl and 
a stranger sprang down from the last wagon; the former 
placed himself at the head of the procession, had the wagons 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



187 



driven to the front of the castle, arranged the men in two 
rows, and made them present arms. Last of all came Pink 
galloping up. 

"Welcome !" cried Anton to his friend. 

" You are bringing an army and ammunition," laughed 
Lenore, greeting him. "Do you always march with such 
lieavy baggage V 

" I bring a corps that will henceforth be in your service," 
replied Fink, jumping down. " They seem decent folk," 
said he, turning to Anton ; " but I had some trouble to 
collect them. Hands are scarce just now, and yet nothing 
gets done. We have been drumming and bribing in your 
country like recruiting Serjeants. These fellows would hardly 
have been got here merely to work, the grey jackets and 
the chasseurs' caps settled the matter. Some of them 
have served already, and your hussar knows how to keep 
them together as well as any born general." 

The Baron and his lady now entered the court. The 
labourers at Karl's bidding raised a loud hurrah, and then 
strolled off to the side of the castle, and lay down in the 
sunshine. 

" Here are your pioneers, my chief," said Fink to the 
Baron ; " since your kindness allows me to be your inmate 
for some time to come, I have now a right to do some- 
thing towards the security of your castle. The condition 
of this province is serious. Even in Rosmin they do 
not feel safe for a single day; and your embodying a 
militia has not escaped the enemy and called attention to 
your house." 

" It is an honour to me," interposed the Baron, " to be 
obnoxious to the rebels." 



188 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



" No doubt," politely chimed in Fink. " But this is only 
an additional motive to your friends, to watch over your 
and your family's personal safety. As yet you are hardly 
strong enough to defend the castle from an assault of the 
rascals immediately around. The dozen labourers that I 
bring wiU form a guard for your house ; they have arms 
and partly know how to use them. I have bound them to 
the performance of certain military functions which will 
help to keep them in order. They can work a few hours 
less daily, and exercise during the interval, patrol, and, in 
so far as you. Baron, may think it desirable, keep up a 
regular correspondence with the neighbouring districts. Of 
course their support and payment is my affair, and I have 
accordingly provided for it. I wish to run up a slight 
building for them on the land they are to cultivate, but 
just now it will be well to keep them as near the castle as 
possible, and therefore I have to ask you for temporary 
quarters for all these as weU as for myself." 

" Just as you like, dear Fink," cried the Baron, carried 
away by the yoimg man's enterprising spirit ; " all the room 
we have is at your disposal." 

" Then allow me to suggest," said Anton, " that a room 
in the lower storey shoidd be fitted up as a guard-room. 
There, arms and implements can be safely kept, and some of 
the men might nightly take up their quarters there. The 
rest must be billeted in the farm-yard. In this way they 
will get accustomed to consider the castle their place of 
rendezvous." 

" Capital," said Fink, " so that the disturbance thus 
caused does not prove an annoyance to the ladies." 

" The wife and daughter of an old soldier will gratefully 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



189 



submit to any measures taken for their safety," replied the 
Baron with dignity. 

Accordingly, the new colony began to settle by universal 
consent. The wagons were unloaded, the manager and 
his men accommodated for the moment in the farm build- 
ings. 

The first thing they did was to free the furniture from 
its wrappings of straw and canvas, and to carry it into the 
apartments of theu' new master. 

The castle servants stood round and looked with curiosity 
at its simple style. One article, however, excited such 
loud admiration, that Lenore joined the group of gazers. 
It was a small sofa of singular aspect. The legs and 
arms were made of the feet of some great beast of prey, 
and the cushions were covered with the bright yellow skin, 
aU dotted over with regular black spots. At the back, 
and on the bolsters, were three large jaguars' heads, and 
the framework, instead of wood, was of beautifully carved 
ivory. 

"How exquisite !" exclaimed Lenore. 

" If the thing does not displease you," said Fink coolly, 
" I propose an exchange. There is a small sofa in my 
room, on which I rest so comfortably, that I should like 
to keep it there. Will you allow your people to carry off 
this monster to some other room in the castle, and to 
leave me that sofa instead V 

Lenore could find no reply, and bowed a silent consent ; 
and yet she was dissatisfied with herself for not having at 
once declined such an exchange. When she returned to 
her room, she found the jaguar-sofa already there. That 
vexed her stiU further ; she called Suska and the man- 



190 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



servant, and desired them to move it elsewhere; but they 
so loudly protested that the beautiful creature was nowhere 
more in keeping than in their young lady's chamber, that 
Lenore, to avoid observation, sent them away and put up 
with the exchange. Thus it came to pass that her fair 
form rested on the jaguar-skins that Fink had shot in the 
far forests of the West. 

The next day the new undertaking began. The manager 
went with his apparatus to the land in question, and 
the men had their work portioned out to them. Karl 
hunted out day-labourers from the Gennan and Polish 
districts around, and even found a few in the village 
ready to help, so that in a few days there were fifty 
hands employed. It must be owned that things did not 
go on altogether undisturbed ; the labourers came less 
regularly than might have been wished, but still the work 
progressed, for Fink as well as Karl well understood keeping 
men in order — the one by his haughty energy, the other 
by the invariable good humour with which he praised or 
blamed. The forester came assiduously from his forest to 
conduct the military exercises, the castle was nightly 
watched, and patrols regularly sent to the villages around. 
A warlike spirit spread from the castle over the whole 
district. A strong esiwit de corps soon sprung up amongst 
the broad-brims, which made discipline easy, and after a 
few days Fink was besieged with petitioners for a like 
uniform, and a gun, and the privilege of being taken into 
his service. 

" The giiard-room is ready," said Fink to Anton ; " but 
you must have holes for muskets cut in the shutters of the 
lower storey windows." Thus the troublous time was 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



191 



endured with fresli spirit. The stranger-guest gave a new- 
impulse to each individual life, the very farm-ser^^ants felt 
his influence, and the forester was proud to do the honours 
of his wood to such a gentleman. Fink was a good deal 
in the fields with Anton, who, as well as Karl, soon fell 
into the habit of asking his advice. He bought two 
strong cart-horses — for his own use, he said — but he 
cleverly contrived that they should work on the Baron's 
farm, and laughed at Anton's scruples. The latter was 
happy to have his friend near him. Somewhat of their 
former pleasant life had returned — of those evenings 
when the two youths had chatted, as only youths can, 
sometimes in mere childish folly, sometimes gravely on the 
highest subjects. Fink had changed in many respects. 
He had become more quiet, or, as Anton expressed it in 
counting-house phrase, more solid ; but he was more inclined 
than ever to make use of men for his own varying interests, 
and to look down upon them as mere instruments. His 
physical strength was unabated. After having stood all 
morning superintending his workmen, after having wandered 
all through the wood with the forester, ridden, spite of 
Anton's remonstrances, far into the disturbed districts to 
seek information or establish relations there, and inspected 
on his return all the sentry-posts on the estate ; there he 
was at the tea-table of the Baroness, a lively companion, 
with such inexhaustible fimds of conversation, that Anton 
had often to remind him by signs that the strength of the 
lady of the house was not equal to his own. As for the 
Baron, Fink had completely subjugated him. He never 
showed the least deference to the sarcastic humour which 
had become habitual to the unfortunate nobleman, never 



192 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



allowed him a bitter observation against Wolilfart or 
Leuore, or any one else, without making him at once 
sensible of its injustice. Consequently, the Baron learnt 
to exercise great self-control in his presence. On the 
other hand, Fink took pains to give him many a pleasure. 
He helped him to play a rubber of whist, initiated Lenore 
in the game, and gradually drew in Wohlfart as the 
fourth. 

This had the effect of pleasantly wiling away many a 
weary hour for the Baron ; of making Wohlfart one of the 
family circle, and keeping him up, so that Fink might, if so 
minded, drink a glass of Cognac punch and enjoy his last 
cigar in his company. The ladies of the house alone did 
not seem to feel the cheering influence of Fink's presence. 
The Baroness fell sick ; it was no violent ailment, yet it 
came suddenly. That veiy afternoon she had spoken cheer- 
fully to Anton, and taken from him some letters which the 
postman had brought for her husband ; but in the even- 
ing she did not make her appearance at the tea-table, 
though the Baron himself treated her indisposition as 
trifling. She complained of nothing but weakness, and 
the doctor, who ventured from Rosmin to the castle, could 
not give her malady a name. She smilingly rejected all 
medicine, and said it was her firm conviction that the 
exhaustion would pass away. That she might not detain her 
husband and daughter in her sick-room, she often expressed 
a wish to join the family circle, but she was not able to 
sit up on the sofa, and lay resting her head on the pillows. 
Thus she was still the silent companion of the others. 
Her eyes would dwell uneasily upon the Baron, or search- 
ingly upon Lenore, as they sat at the whist-table, and then 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



193 



she would close them and seem to rest, as if from some 
great exertion. 

Anton looked with sincere sympathy at the invalid. 
Whenever there was a pause in the game, he took the 
opportunity of quietly stepping to the sofa and asking 
her commands. It was a pleasure to him to hand her even 
a glass of water, or take a message for her. He gazed with 
admiration at the delicate face, which, pale and thin as it 
was, retained all its beauty of outline. There was a silent 
understanding between the two. She spoke, indeed, less 
to him than to the rest ; for while she often addi-essed her 
husband in a cheerful tone, or followed Fink's lively narra- 
tives with looks and gestures of interest, she did not take 
the trouble of hiding her weakness from Anton. Alone 
with him she would collapse or gaze absently straight before 
her ; but when she did look at him, it was witli the calm 
confidence with which we are inspired by an old friend 
from whom we have no longer any secrets. Perhaps this 
arose from the Baroness being able fully to appreciate his 
worth — perhaps, too, it arose from her never having looked 
at him in any other light than that of an obliging domestic 
since he first promised his services ; but had tliis view of 
hers been discernible to our hero, it would in no way have 
shaken his allegiance to the noble lady. She seemed to 
him perfect, just as she was — a picture that rejoiced the 
heart of all who came within its influence. He could not 
get rid of the impression that some external cause, perhaps 
one of those letters he had himself given her, was answer- 
able for the change in her health ; for one of them was 
directed in a trembling hand, and had an unpleasant look 
about it, which had made Anton instinctively feel that it 

VOL. II. N 



194 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



contained bad news. One evening, while the others were 
at the card-table, the invalid's head sunk down from the 
silken cushions ; Anton having arranged them more com- 
fortably, she looked at him gratefully, and told him in a 
whisper how weak she was, " I wish to speak with you 
once more alone," continued she, after a pause ; " not now, 
but the time will come." And then she looked upwards 
with an expression of anguish that filled Anton's heart 
with painful fears. 

Neither the Baron nor Lenore, however, shared his 
anxiety. 

" Mamma has often suffered from similar attacks of 
weakness before," said the latter. " The summer is her 
best cure, and I hope everything from warmer weather." 

But indeed Lenore was too pre-occupied to be a good 
judge of what was going on around her. She, too, was 
changed. Many an evening she would sit mute at the tea- 
table, and start if addressed ; at other times she would be 
immoderately lively. She avoided Fink ; she avoided Anton 
too, and was reserved in manner to both. Her blooming 
health appeared disturbed ; her mother would often send 
her out of doors from her own sick-room ; and then she 
would have her pony saddled, and ride round and round 
the wood till the indignant pony would take her home 
without her finding it out. Anton saw this change with 
silent sorrow. He was deeply conscious how difi'erent 
Lenore's relation to him had become, but he did not speak 
of this to her, and kept his feelings to himself. 

It was a sultry afternoon in May. Dark thunder-clouds 
hung over the forest, and the sun threw its burning rays 
on the parched land, when the patrol which had been sent 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



195 



to Kunau came hurrying back to the giiard-room, to say- 
that there were strange men hirking in the Kunau woods, 
and that the villagers wished to know what was to be done. 
Fink gave the alarm to his labourers, and sent a message 
to the forester, and to the new farm. While the men car- 
ried the implements into the castle, and the farm-servants 
rode home with their teams and prepared for a sally, a 
horseman came from Kunau to say, that a band of Poles 
had broken into a court-yard in the village, and that the 
peasants requested help. All were now in the cheerful 
excitement which an alarm occasions when it promises ad- 
ventures. 

" Keep some of the workmen back," said Fink to Anton, 
" and guard the castle and village. I will send the forester 
with his little militia to Kunau, and ride over thither my- 
self first of all, with Karl and the servants." 

He sprang to the stable and saddled his own horse, while 
Karl was getting ready that of the Baron for liimself. 

" Look at the clouds, Herr von Fink," said Karl. 
" Take your cloak with you ; we shall have a tremendous 
shower." 

Fink called accordingly for his plaid, and the little band 
galloped off towards Kunau. When they entered the forest 
they remarked how stifling the atmosphere was. Even the 
rapid pace of their horses brought with it no relief 

" Look how restless the beasts are," said Karl. " My 
horse pricks his ears. There is something in the wood." 

They stopped for a moment. " I hear a horse's tread, 
and a rustling among the branches." 

The horse that Karl rode stretched out his neck, and 
neighed loudly. 



196 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



" It is an acquaintance — one of our own number," said 
Fink, looking at the animal. The branches of the young 
trees parted, and Lenore, mounted on her pony, sprang out 
and barred the way. " Halt ! who goes there ?" cried she, 
laughing. 

" Hurrah ! the young lady !" exclaimed Karl. 

" The password cried Lenore, in true martial style. 

Fink rode up, sahited her, and whispered, " 23U§, 
bag ift ja bie ©ufiel m\ Slaferci^." 

Lenore blushed and laughed. " All right," said she ; 
" I shall ride with you," 

" Of course," cried Fink ; " only let's get on." 

The pony exerted himself to keep up with the tall horse 
of the stranger, and thus they reached Kunau and stopped 
at the rendezvous, where the village-militia was assem- 
bled ; and its commander, the smith, met the riders with 
an anxious face. 

" Those hidden in our wood," cried he, " are an accursed 
set — armed Poles. This very day, in broad noonlight, a 
band of the men, cariying guns, came to Leonard's farm, 
which lies out there by the wood, invested the doors and 
gate, while their leader, and some of the men, marched 
into the room where the farmer and his family were sitting, 
and demanded money and the calf out of the stable. He 
was a blackguard fellow, with a long gun, a peacock fea- 
ther in his cap, and a red scarf around his loins, like a 
thorough Klopice. The farmer refused to give up his 
money, at which they took aim at him ; and his wife, in 
terror, ran to the closet, and threw all the money they had 
at the rascals. Next, they carried away the geese from 
the yard, and went off with their booty into the wood, 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



197 



leaving four rogues armed with guns to mount guard, and 
prevent any one getting off the premises till they were far 
enough. Next, two of the thieves discharged their guns 
into the roof, and then all ran away. The thatch took 
fire, but fortunately we got it put out." 

" Hours have passed since then," cried Fink ; " the rogues 
are over the mountains by this time." 

" I do not think so," replied the smith. I at once 
sent off Leonard to the border with our mounted men, that 
they might watch whether the thieves crept out of the wood 
or not ; and a woman who crossed it two hours ago, saw 
Poles there. They had some beast with them too, but the 
woman was too much terrified to know whether it was a 
calf or a dog ; if it were a calf, the hungry wolves would 
rather eat it than carry it further. I have just come from 
Neudorf ; the men there are assembled like ourselves. We 
might make a search through the forest if your people would 
help us, and if you would show us the way." Good," 
said Fink ; " let us set about it." He then sent a message 
to the forester, to the effect that those in the castle should 
set out on the search from their side, and discussed with tlie 
smith the best way of disposing the Kunau men. He next 
despatched Karl and the servants to join the Kunau horse- 
men on the opposite side of the wood. " Don't stand upon 
ceremony with the rascals," he called out after Karl, with 
a significant tap on his pistols. " Now then," said he to 
the smith, "I will go to Neudorf When you have searched 
your half of the wood, wait for us ; you shall then be joined 
by the Neudorf detachment." 

The Kunau men set oft* accordingly, to avenge the robbery 
committed. Fink, accompanied by Lenore, rode off to the 



198 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



neighbouring village. On the way thither, he said : " At 
Neudorf we must part, lady." Lenore Avas silent. 

Fink glanced sidelong at her. " I don't think," said he, 
" that the rogues will do us the pleasure of awaiting our 
approach. And if they are minded to run off, the evening 
is closing in, and we shall hardly hinder them. But the 
chase will be good practice for our people, and therefore we 
must make the most of it." 

" Then I will go with you to the wood," said Lenore 
resolutely. 

" That is hardly necessary," replied Fink. " True, I fear 
no risk for you, but fatigue, and probably rain." 

" Let me go with you !" prayed Lenore, looking up at 
him. " I have given you sensible advice : what more can 
be demanded from any one ?" 

" Between ourselves, I am rejoiced to find you so spirited. 
Gallop then, comrade !" 

Arrived at Neudorf, Fink left the horses in the bailiff's 
stable, and led the band of villagers to the borders of 
the wood. There they deployed into a cordon^ and the 
march now began ; Fink walked with Lenore at the head 
of the right wing, which, according to the plan laid down, 
would be the first to join the Kunau detachment. All 
went silently onward and looked with keen glance from 
tree to tree. As they got further into the wood, there was 
a rustling in the tops of the trees, and lookmg through them, 
a leaden-coloured sky was seen. But below, the sultriness 
was undisturbed, the birds sat supinely on the branches, 
and the beetles had crept into the heather. 

" The very sky is on the side of these rogues," said Fink, 
pointing out the clouds to his companion ; " it is getting so 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



199 



dark up there, that in half an hour's time wc shall not be 
able to see ten yards before us." 

The forest now thickened and the light decreased. Lenore 
had some difficulty in discerning the men before her. The 
ground grew swampy, and she sank up to her ankles. " If 
only no cold be caught," laughed Fink. " None will," re- 
plied she cheerfully ; but the forest expedition no longer 
appeared to her the easy matter it had done an hour 
before. 

The man nearest Fink stood still, his whispered word of 
command ran along the whole chain, and all stopped to wait 
for the Kunau men. The sky grew still blacker, the wood 
still darker. The thunder began to roll in the distance, 
hollow and muffled, beneath the fir-wood arches. At 
first the rain sounded only on the tree-tops, but soon 
large, heai-y drops came dowii, till at length all view was 
shut out by the sheets of water that fell. Each individual 
was isolated by darkness and rain, and when the men called 
to each other, they were hardly audible. 

At that moment Lenore, as she looked at Fink, caught 
her foot in the root of a tree, and suppressing a cry of 
anguish, sank on one knee. Fink hastened to her. 

" I can go no further," said she, conquering her pain ; 
" leave me here, I beseech you, and call for me on your 
return." 

" To leave you in this condition," cried Fink, " would 
be barbarity, compared to which cannibalism is a harmless 
recreation. You will be good enough to put up with my 
proximity. But first of all allow me to lead you out of 
this shower-bath to some spot where the rain is less auda- 
cious ; and, besides, I have already lost sight of our men ; 



200 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



not one of the worthy fellows' broad shoulders can I now 
discern." He raised Lenore, who tried to use the injured 
foot, but the pain extorted another cry of agony. She 
tottered, and leant against Fink's shoulder. Winding 
his plaid about her, he lifted her from the ground, and 
carried her as one carries a child, underneath some fir-trees, 
whose thick branches spread over a small dry space. Any 
one stooping might find tolerable shelter there. 

I must set you down here, dear lady," said Fink, care- 
fully placing Lenore on the ground. " I will keep watch 
before your green tent, and turn my back to you, that 
you may bind your wet handkerchief round the naughty 
ankle." 

Lenore squeezed herself in under the fir-canopy. Fink 
stood leaning against the trunk of a tree. 

" Is nothing broken ? " said he ; " can you move the 
foot?" 

" It hurts me," said Lenore ; " but I can move it." 

" That is well," said Fink, looking straight before him ; 
" now bind the handkerchief round it ; I hope that in ten 
minutes you will be able to stand. Wrap yourself up well 
in the large plaid, it will keep you warm ; else my comrade 
will catch a fever, and that would be paying too dear for the 
chase after the stolen calf Have you arranged the band- 
age ?" 

" Yes," said Lenore. 

" Then allow me to wrap you up." It was in vain that 
she protested ; Fink wound the large shawl round and 
round her, and tied it behind in a firm knot. " Now you 
may sit in the wood like the grey manikin." 

" Leave me a little breathing space," implored Lenore. 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



201 



" There, then," said Fink ; " now you will be comfort- 
able." 

Indeed, Lenore soon began to feel a genial warmth, and 
sat silent in her shady nook distressed at the singular posi- 
tion in which she found herself. Meanwhile Fink had 
again taken up his post against the tree-trunk, and chival- 
rously kept aloof. After a time Lenore called out of her 
hiding-place : " Are you there still, comrade mine V 

" Do you take me for a traitor who forsakes his tent- 
companion?" returned Fink. 

"It is quite dry ' here," continued Lenore; " only that 
a drop falls now and then upon my nose. But you, 
poor you, will be wet through out there. What fearful 
rain !" 

"Does this rain terrify you ?" inquired Fink, shmgging 
his shoulders. " It is but a weak infant this. If it can 
break off a twig from a tree, it thinks it has done wonders. 
Commend me to the rain of warmer climates. Drops like 
apples — nay, not drops at all, streams as thick as my arm ! 
The water rushes down from the clouds like a cataract. 
No standing, for the ground swims away beneath one's 
feet : no taking shelter under a tree, for the wind breaks 
the thickest trunks like straw ! One runs to his house, 
which is not further off, perhaps, than from here to that 
good-for-nothing stump that hurt your foot, and the house 
has vanished, leaving in its place a hole, a stream, and a 
heap of well-washed stones. Perhaps, too, the earth may 
begin to shake a little, and to raise waves like those of the 
sea in a storm. That is a rain which is worth seeing ! 
Clothes that have been wet through by it never recover ; 
what was once a greatcoat, is, after a whole week's drying, 



202 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



nothing more than a black and shapeless mass — in aspect 
and texture like to a morel. If one chances to be wearing 
such a coat, it sticks on fast enough indeed, but it never 
can be got off except by the help of a pen-knife, and in 
narrow stripes, peeled away as one peels an apple !" 

Lenore could not help laughing in spite of pain. " I 
should much like to have experience of such rain as that," 
said she. 

" I am unselfish in not wishing to see you in such a 
plight," replied Fink. "Ladies fare worst of all. All 
that constitutes their toilette vanishes entirely in torrents 
such as these. Do you know the costume of the Venus 
of Milo?" 

" No," said Lenore, distressed. 

" All women caught in a tropical rain look exactly like 
that lady, and the men like scare-scrows. Nay, sometimes 
it happens that human beings are beaten down flat as 
penny-pieces, with a knob in the middle, which, on closer 
examination, proves to be a human head, and mournfully 
calls out to passers-by, ' Oh, my fellow-beings, this is what 
comes of going out without an umbrella !' " 

Again Lenore could not help laughing. " My foot no 
longer hurts me so much ; I believe that I could walk." 

" That you shall not do," replied Fink. " The rain has 
not abated, and it is so dark that one can hardly see one's 
outstretched hand." 

" Then do me the kindness of going to look for the 
others. I am better now, and I crouch here like a roe, 
hidden alike from rain and robbers." 

" It won't do," rejoined Fink from his tree. 

" I implore you to do so," cried Lenore anxiously, 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



203 



stretching out her hands from the plaid. " Leave me now 
alone." Fink turned round, seized her hand, pressed it to 
his lips, and silently hurried off in the direction the men 
had taken. 

Lenore now sat alone beneath the fir-tree. The rain still 
rushed down, and the thunder rolled above her, and at 
times a sudden flash showed her the long rows of trunks, 
looking like the yellow pillars of an unfinished building, a 
black roof over them. At such moments the forest seemed 
like an enchanted castle, rising out of the earth and sinking 
into nothingness again. Mysterious tones, such as fill the 
woods by night, sounded through the rain. Over her 
head there was a knocking at regular intervals, as if some 
wicked wood-sprite were seeking admittance to her shelter, 
which made her start, and ask herself whether it pro- 
ceeded from a spectre or the branch of a tree. Further 
off was heard the vehement croaking of some crow whose 
nest had been flooded, and whose first sleep was disturbed. 
Close to her there was ghastly laughter. " Hee, hee ! hoo, 
hoo !" and again Lenore started. Was it a malicious 
forest kobold, or only a night -owl ? Nature spoke 
around her in a hundred melancholy tones. Lenore some- 
times enjoyed, and sometimes trembled at the wild charm 
of this solitude. Other thoughts, too, passed through her 
mind ; she blamed herself for having foolishly stolen out 
to join an undertaking that made such a residt as this 
possible ; she pictured to herself how they were seeking 
for her at home ; and above all, wondered what he who 
had just left her at her earnest request, was thinking of 
her in his inmost heart. Pushing back the plaid, she 
listened, but there was not a human voice to be heard — 



204 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



nothing but the fall of the rain, and the sighing of the 
wood. But near her something moved. At first she 
heard it indistinctly, then plainly as iu leaps it came closer, 
and presently she felt something press against her jDlaid. 
Terrified, she cautiously reached out her hand, and touched 
the wet skin of a hare, who, scared from its form by the 
incessant rain, now sought shelter like herself. She held 
her breath not to disturb her little companion ; and for a 
while the two cowered side by side. 

Then shots sounded afar off" through the rain and 
thunder. Lenore started, and the hare bounded away. 
Yonder, there were men fighting ; yonder, blood was being 
poured out on the dark ground ! A scream was heard — a 
fierce ominous scream, then all was still. " Was he iu 
danger ?" she asked herself ; yet she felt no fear, and shook 
her head under her plaid, sure that even if he were, no danger 
would reach him. The gun aimed at him would strike 
some broken branch, the knife drawn against him would 
break like a splinter before it struck him, the man who 
rushed on him would stumble and fall before he could touch 
that haughty head. He was above all danger, above all 
fear, he knew neither care nor grief ; alas ! he did not feel 
like other men. His head was lifted freely, his eyes were 
clear and bright when all others were cast in teiTor down to 
earth. No difficulty affrighted, no hindrance stopped him. 
With a mere wave of his hand he could remove what 
crushed other men. Such was he. And this man had 
seen her weak, precipitate, and helpless ; it was her own 
fault that he had now a right to assume a transient inti- 
macj. She trembled lest he should presume upon this 
right by a glance, a presumptuous smile, a passing word. 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



205 



In this way her heart kept beating, and her thoughts flut- 
tering for long hours. 

The storm passed off. Instead of ton-ents, there was 
small rain, and a dull grey succeeded to the black darkness, 
and the fiery flashes. Lenore could now trace the tnmks 
of the nearest trees. The feeling of solitariness oppressed 
her more and more. Just then she heard again the distant 
sound of human voices, call and counter-call gi'cw louder, 
and the bailiff's voice cried, " They went beyond the quarry ; 
look yonder, you Neudorf men." The steps of the speakers 
drew near, and Karl, making a speaking-trumpet of his 
hands, shouted with all his might, " Halloa, hillo hoa, 
Fraulein Lenore ! " 

" Here I am," cried a female voice at his very feet. 

Karl started back in amazement, and joyfully caUed out, 
"Found !" The peasants surrounded Lenore's shelter. 

"Our young lady is here !" cried a youth of Neudorf, 
and hurrahed in his delight, as though he were at a 
v/edding. 

Lenore rose, her foot still pained her ; but leaning on 
Karl's arm, she exerted herself bravely to walk. Mean- 
while, the young men broke down a few poles, and laid fir 
branches across them. In spite of her resistance, Lenore 
was constrained to seat herself upon the rude litter, while 
some ran on to the bailiff's stable, to get her horse ready 
for her. 

" Have you found the thieves?" inquired Lenore from 
Karl, who walked at her side. 

" Two of them," replied he. " The calf had been kiUed ; 
we have got its skin, and part of its flesh. The geese were 
hanging up on a bough, with their necks wrung, but the 



206 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



rascals had divided the money. We found very little of 
it on our prisoners." 

" Those we have caught are Tarow men," said the 
bailiff anxiously ; " the worst in the village. And yet I 
wish they were anywhere but here, for there are some de- 
sperately revengeful fellows yonder." 

" I heard shots," inquired Lenore further ; " was any 
harm done ?" 

" Not to us," answered Karl. " In their foolhardiness, 
they made a fire, not much beyond the border where our 
riders formed a cordon. The embers were glimmering in 
spite of the rain, and thus they betrayed themselves. We 
dismounted, crept near, and surprised them. They fired 
their guns, and ran into the bush. There the darkness 
swallowed them up. It was a long time before the party 
on foot could join us, and but for the shots and the noise, 
they would never have found us out. Herr von Fink 
described to us the place where we should meet with you. 
He is taking the prisoners with him to the estate, and to- 
morrow we will send them further." 

" But to think that Herr von Fink should have left you 
thus alone in the wood," said the worthy bailiff. " That was 
a bold stroke indeed ! " 

" I begged him not to remain behind," rephed Lenore, 
casting down her eyes in spite of the darkness. 

Half-way to the village, Lenore' s pony was brought to 
meet them. At Neudorf, Karl got back the Baron's horse 
and accompanied his young lady to the castle. It was 
very late before they arrived. Lenore's long absence had 
excited her mother's alarm, and put the Baron fearfully 
out of temper. She escaped from his cross-questioning as 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



207 



fast as she could, and hurried to her room. An hour later 
Fink with the forester came back from Kunau, bringing 
both the prisoners, who walked haughtily, with their hands 
bound, and carried their peacock's feathers as high as 
though they were leading the dance in a tavern. 

" You shall pay for this," said one of them in Polish to 
his escort, and clenched his fettered fists. 



208 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



CHAPTER X. 

^^HE rain still continued. It had ceased indeed in the 
morning, but only to begin again with double energ\'. 
The labourers had gone early to the field, but they soon 
returned. They were now sitting silently in the guard- 
room of the castle, drying their wet garments at the 
stove. 

The Baron sat in the arm-chair, listening to old John, 
who read him the newspaper that had reached the 
castle on the previous day. The monotonous voice of the 
domestic announced nothing but unwelcome news ; the 
rain-drops rattled on the panes, and the wind rushed 
howling round the corner of the house in discordant 
accompaniment. 

Anton was busy at his desk. Before him lay a letter 
from Commissary Horn, announcing that the judicial sale 
of the family estate was fixed for the middle of next 
winter ; and that, since the advertisement of this definite 
period, several mortgages on the property had passed from 
one hand to another, bought up, as he feared, by one 
speculator, who disguised himself under difi'erent names. 
Accordingly Anton reflected in gloomy mood upon the 
hazardous position of the Baron. 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



209 



In the neiglibouring room, Fink was keeping the ladies 
company ; the Baroness lying back on the sofa cushions, 
covered by a shawl of Lenore's. She gazed in silence 
straight before her, but when her daughter came up with 
some tender inquiry, she nodded smilingly at her, and 
spoke a few cheering words. Lenore was sitting in the 
window occupied with some light work, and listening with 
rapture to the jests by which Fink brightened the otherwise 
mournful room. To-day, in spite of the rain, he was in the 
wildest spirits. From time to time Lenore's ringing laugh 
reached Anton through the massive door, and then he forgot 
sale and mortgage, looked with clouded brow at the door, 
and felt not without bitterness that a new struggle was 
approaching both for the family and for himself. 

Without, as we have already said, the rain poured and 
the storm raged. The wind from the forest wailed to the 
castle. The old firs creaked, and ceaselessly bent down 
their branches towards the building. Around the pear- 
trees in the meadows, leaves and white blossoms fluttered 
timidly to earth. The storm angrily stripped them off, 
and crushed them low with his rain, howling the while. 
" Down with your smiling pomp ! to-day all belonging to 
the castle shall wear mourning !" Then the fierce spirit 
flew from the trees to the castle-walls ; it shook the flag- 
staff on the tower ; it hurled the rain in slanting torrents 
against the windows ; it groaned in the chimneys and 
thundered at the doors. It took advantage of every open- 
ing to cry, "Guard your house!" And this it did for 
hoiu-s together, but those within understood not its speech. 

Neither did any one heed the horseman who was urging 
his weary horse through the village to the castle. At last 

VOL. n. 



210 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



the knocker outside tlie gate was heard, the strokes sounded 
impatient, and loud voices resounded in the court-yard and 
on the stairs. Anton opened the door ; an armed man 
dripping with wet, and stained with mud, entered the 
room. 

" It is you !" cried Anton in amazement. 

" They are coming !" said Karl, looking cautiously 
round ; " prepare for it ; this time it is our turn." 

"The enemy?" rapidly asked Anton. "How strong is 
the bandr' 

" It was not a band that I saw," replied Karl seriously ; 
" it was an army of about a thousand scythe-bearers, and 
at least a hundred horsemen at their head. I hear that 
they have orders to enlist all Poles and disarm all Ger- 
mans." 

Anton opened the door of the next room and made a 
sign to Fink. 

"Ah!" cried Fink, as he cast a look on Karl, "he 
who brings half the highway into the room with him 
has no good tidings to tell From which side comes the 
enemy, sergeant ?" 

" From the Neudorf birch-wood straight down upon us. 
Our villagers are assembled in the tavern drinking and 
quarrelling." 

" No beacon fires have been seen — no tidings have come 
from the neighbouring villages," cried Anton at the window. 
" Have the Germans at Neudorf and Kunau been fast 
asleep, then ?" 

" They were taken by surprise," continued the messenger 
of ill. " Their watch saw the enemy yesterday evening 
half a mile beyond Neudorf, going down the high road 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



211 



towards Rosmiii. When they had passed the turning to 
Neiidorf, the villagers took heart again, but their horsemen 
followed the enemy till the last scythe-bearers were out of 
sight. In the night, however, the whole troop turned 
back ; this morning tliey fell upon the village, and have 
wrought sad havoc there. The bailiff is lying on the straw, 
covered with wounds, and a prisoner ; the guard-house is 
burnt down — but for this heavy rain we should see the 
smoke. At this present moment, the enemy has divided. 
They are making the round of all the German villages ; 
one party is gone Off to Kunau, one to our new farm, the 
largest is on its way hither." 

" How much time have we to prepare for these gentry ?" 
asked Fink. 

" In weather like this the infaiitiy will take an hour to 
get here." 

"Is the forester warned?" asked Anton ; "and do 
those at the new farm know ?" 

" There was no time to apprise them. The farm is further 
from Neudorf than the estate, and I might have been too 
late getting here. I lit our beacon, but in rain like this, 
neither fire nor smoke is visible, and all signals are useless." 

" If they have not looked out for themselves," said 
Fink decidedly, " we can do no more for them." 

" The forester is a fox," replied Kar], " no one will 
catch him ; but as for the farmer and his young wife, 
Heaven have mercy on them !" 

" Save our people !" cried a supplicating voice close to 
Fink. Lenore stood in the room, pale, with folded hands. 

Anton hurried to the door through which she had 
silently entered. "The Baroness !" cried he anxiously. 



212 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



"She has heard nothing as yet," hurriedly replied 
Lenore. " Send to the farm ; help our people !" 

Fink caught up his cap. " Bring out my horse," said 
he to Karl, 

"You can't be spared now," said Anton, barring the 
way. " I will take your horse." 

" I beg your pardon, ]\Ir. Wohlfart," interpolated Karl ; 
" if I may ride Herr von Fink's horse, I shall be quite able 
to make it out." 

" So be it, then," decided Fink ; " send hither the forester 
and any man you can beat up; the women, horses, and 
children you can despatch to the forest. Let the farmer 
go with all his cattle into the thicket as far as he can, and 
keep a look-out on the castle from the old firs near the sand 
pit. As for you, keep on my horse, which I shall, alas ! 
have to make over to you for some days to come ; ride 
off' to Rosmin, and seek out the nearest detachment of our 
soldiers ; tell them we implore them to come to our aid, 
and, if possible, to bring cavalry with them." 

" Oui' red-caps are about three miles beyond Rosmin," 
said Karl, turning to go. " The Kunau smith called that 
out to me as I rode by." 

" Bring any military you can. I'll write a line to the 
commanding officer, while you are saddling the horse." 

Kaid made a military salute, and hurried down stairs, 
Anton with him. While he was fastening the girths, Anton 
said, " As you pass by, caU out to the men in the farm -yard 
that I will be with them at once. Poor fellow, you have 
hardly had any breakfast to-day, and there is little prospect 
of your getting anything for some hours to come." He ran 
back to the house, got a bottle of wine, some bread, and the 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



213 



remnant of a ham, stuffed them into a bag, and, together 
with Fink's letter, gave them to the hussar just as he 
was setting olf. 

" Thanks," said Karl, seizing Anton's hand ; " you think 
of eveiy one. But I've one thing to ask, think of yourself 
too, Mr. Wohlfart ; this Polish set, here and yonder, are not 
v>^orth your risking your life ; there are some at home with 
whom it would go hard if anything happened to you." 

Anton shook his hand heartily. " Good-bye, Karl ! I'll 
do my duty; don't forget to send us the forester, and, 
above all, rescue- the farmer's wife. Lead the military 
hither through the wood." 

" No fear," said Karl cheerily ; " this gallant bay shall 
find out how much a stout-hearted trooper can get through." 

With these words he waved his cap, and vanished behind 
the farm-buildings. 

Anton bolted the gate, then hurried to the guard-room, 
and rang the alarm-bell, giving orders to the superintendent 
to let in the men, to invest the back-door, and not to 
admit any one without questioning them, not even fugitives. 

" Eat heartily, and drink moderately ; w^e shall have 
enough to do to-day," he cried. 

Meanwhile, Fink stood at the table in Anton's room, load- 
ing the guns, while Leuore reached him whatever he needed. 
She was pale, but her eyes glowed with an excitement 
which did not escape Anton as he entered. " Leave 
this serious game to us alone," said he beseechingly. 

" It is the home of my parents that you defend," cried 
she. " jMy father is unable to act at your head. You shall 
not expose your lives for our sakes, without my sharing your 
danger." 



214 



DEBIT AND CKEDIT. 



" Forgive me," replied Anton ; " your first duty most 
undoubtedly is to prepare the Baroness, and not to leave 
lier during the next few hours," 

"My mother, my poor mother !" cried Lenore, clasping 
her hands, laying down the powder-flask, and hurrying to 
the neighbouring room, 

" I have set all the men eating," said Anton to Fink. 
" From this moment you must take the command," 

" Good," replied Fink, " Here are your arms, this double 
barrel is light, one barrel loaded with ball, the other 
with slugs. The bag of bullets is under yom: bed," 

" You think of standing a siege then 1 " inquired 
Anton, 

" We must either not seek to defend ourselves at all, 
but suri'ender at the friendly discretion of the approaching 
band, or we must hold out to oiu- last bullet. We are all 
prepared for the latter course ; perhaps siu-render would 
be the wiser, but I own it does not suit my taste. As there 
is a master of the house, however, still extant, he may 
decide ; go to the Baron." 

Anton hurried through the passage to the other wing. 
Even when at a distance he could hear the chairs knocked 
about in the Baron's room. There was an angry " Come 
in," and he entered. The Baron was standing in the 
middle of the room, highly excited. " I hear," said he, 
" that there is something going on. I must consider it an 
unpardonable want of attention that I have not been 
apprised of it." 

" Your pardon. Baron," replied Anton ; "we only heard a 
few minutes ago that a band of the enemy's cavalry and 
scythe-bearers was moving on towards your property. We 



DEBIT AND CP.EDIT. 



215 



sent off a messenger in all speed to the nearest military sta- 
tion, then bolted the door, and now we wait your orders." 

" Send me Herr vou Fink," replied the Baron authorita- 
tively. 

"He is at this moment in the guard-room." 

" I beg that he will take the trouble of coming to me 
at once," cried the angry nobleman. " I cannot discuss 
military matters with you. Fink is a gentleman, and half 
a soldier; I will give all necessaiy instructions to him. 
Vflmt are you waiting for 1 " rudely continued he. " Do 
you young people ' suppose that you are to trifle with me 
because I have the misfortune to be blind 1 He at least 
whom I feed and pay, shall respect my commands." 

"Father!" cried Lenore on the threshold, looking im- 
ploringly at Anton. 

" You are right. Baron," replied Anton ; " I crave your 
forgiveness for having in the hurry of the moment forgotten 
my first duty. I will send Herr von Fink here at once." 
Then hastening off he made his friend acquainted with the 
Baron's angry mood. 

" He is a fool," said Fink. 

"Go up at once," urged Anton ; "the ladies must not 
suffer from his temper." Then throwing on a labourer's 
jacket, he sprang out through the back-door into the rain, 
and to the farm-yard. 

There he foimd a dreary scene of confusion. German 
families from the neighbouring villages had taken refuge in 
the guard-house, and sat there with their children, and some 
of theu' goods and chattels round them. There w^ere about 
twenty persons lying on the floor — men, women, and children, 
the women lamenting, the childi'en weeping, the men looking 



216 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



gloomily down. Several of them belonged to the village 
militia, and some had their guns with them. Their little 
carts stood in the yard. Servants, horses, cows were all 
running against each other. Anton called the superinten- 
dent to his assistance. 

He next made over the farm-horses and the cattle to the 
most tmstworthy of the servants, and to the German dairy- 
maid. Calling aside the head-servant, a resolute kind of 
man, he described to him a place in the thicket, not 
far from the sand-pit, where man and beast might lie con- 
cealed, and be in some degree protected from the weather. 
Thither the man was to drive the cattle, and to keep a 
sharp look-out for the bailiff, who was to have the manage- 
ment of the wood-party. Next he desired the maid to 
leave a cow behind, opened the gate himself, and saw them 
all set out towards the forest. 

" What are we to do with the horses of the Baron, and 
of Herr von Fink ? " hurriedly asked the superintendent. 

" They must be brought together with some of the vehicles 
into the court-yard, come what will. Who knows whether 
we shall not have to fly after all V 

Accordingly Anton had Karl's newly-painted carts laden 
with sacks of potatoes, meal, oats, and as much hay 
as they could hold. He had the great water-butt brought 
in too, and filled to the brim with fresh water. The skies 
were still pouring down bucketsful, and the servants had 
to load in the drenching rain. All was confusion ; and 
weeping and cursing, in German and Polish, was heard on 
every side. As Anton approached the fugitives, the screams 
of the women grew louder, the men surrounded him and 
began to relate their disasters, the children clung about his 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



217 



knees ; it was a mournful spectacle. Anton did what he 
could to comfort them. " Above all be quiet, we will pro- 
tect you as well as we can. I hope the military may come 
to our aid, meanwhile you will be safe in the castle. You 
have been faithful to us in this season of distress ; as long 
as we have bread you shall not want." 

After a quarter of an hour of extreme exertion, Anton 
returned to the castle. The servants drove the carts to 
the back-door, the troop of fugitives followed. People still 
poured in from the German villages around, and soon the 
smith of Kunau, with some of his near neighbours, stood at 
the castle gate. The whole party was now got into order, 
the horses unharnessed, the carts unloaded. The women 
and children were led by Anton into two rooms oh the 
lower floor, which were dark indeed, but far more comfort- 
able than the guard-house in the soaked fields. The bring- 
ing in the horses was the most troublesome part of the 
matter ; about a dozen of them had to crowd up beneath 
an open shed, poorly protected from rain or bullets. The 
water-butt was placed in the middle of the yard, and the 
potato-carts pushed up to the paling, to serve, in case 
of need, as a position for the guard. Next, all the men 
capable of bearing arms were assembled by the smith, and, 
besides Fink's labourers and four servants, fifteen German 
peasants were mustered, the larger number of them armed. 
Their footsteps sounded heavy in the long passages, and 
joining the labourers in the hall, the whole force was seen 
at once ; Fink in his hunting-coat walking quietly up and 
down before his own corps. Anton now went up to him 
and gave in his report. 

" You bring us men," replied Fink : " that is all very 



218 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



well, but we did not want a whole clan of women and chil- 
dren into the bargain ; the castle is as full as a bee-hive, more 
than sixty mouths, to say nothing of a dozen horses ; spite 
of your potato-carts, we shall have to gnaw the stones before 
twenty-four hours are over." 

" Could I leave them outside asked Anton drily. 

" They would have been just as safe in the wood as 
here," said Fink with a slirug. 

" Possibly," replied Anton ; " but to send off people to 
the forest, in rain like this, without provisions, and in 
deadly terror, would have been barbarity for which I could 
not be responsible. Besides, do you think we should have 
got the men without their wives and children ?" 

" At all events we can make use of the men," concluded 
Fink ; " and you may manage the commissariat as you can." 

Fink next gave arms to those who wanted them, and 
divided the forces into four sections, one for the yard, two 
for the upper and lower storeys, and one as a reserve, in the 
guard-room. Next he had an exact report of the enemy 
given him by the Kunau smith and others. Meantime, 
Anton had rushed to the underground kitchen, where he 
gave the provisions in charge to the superintendent, and 
caused wood and water to be carried in by the Baron's 
servants. A sack of potatoes, and one of meal were placed 
near the hearth, and the great caldron put on the fire. 

As he went out, he confided to the cook that a cow had 
been taken into the stable, that, at all events, the family 
might not be without milk at this doleful time. Old 
Babette wrung her hands in anguish. " Alas, Mr. Wohl- 
fart, what a frightful thing it is," cried she ; " the balls will 
be flying about in my kitchen !" 



DEBIT AND CEEDIT. 



219 



" Heaven forbid 1" said Anton ; " the window is much 
too deep for that. Not one can reach you ; cook away in 
peace ; the people are famished ; I will send two of the 
stranger women down to help you." 

" Who could eat in such danger as this ?" cried she. 

" We will all eat," said Anton comfortingly. 

" Will you have soup or potato-broth ?" inquired Babette, 
feverishly brandishing her spoon in her despair. 

" Both, my good woman." 

The cook held him back. " But, Mr. Wohlfart, there 
are no eggs for the family ; indeed there is not an egg in 
the whole house. Mercy on us ! to think of this misfor- 
tune happening to-day of all days. What will the Baron 
say when he has no fresh egg this evening ?" 

" The devil take the eggs!" cried Anton impatiently ; 
" we must not be so particular to-day." 

As he returned, Fink called to him — " All is ready ; 
we may now quietly await the arrival. I am going to the 
tower, and taking a few good shots with me. If anything 
happens, I am to be found there." 

And again the hall was empty, and the house quiet. 
The sentinels stood silently watching the edge of the forest ; 
the rest of the men sat talking in a low voice in the guard- 
room ; but the noise was unceasing in the apartment where 
the children w^ere, and a constant communication was 
kept up between the kitchen and the occupied rooms 
in the lov/er storey. Anton walked to and fi'o in restless 
suspense from the house to the court, and back again to his 
ov/n room, where he tied the Baron's papers together ; then 
through the passages and to the guard-room. In this way 
one quarter of an hour after another passed, till at length 



220 



DEBIT AND CEEDIT. 



Lenore came from her mother s room crying, " This uncer- 
tainty is intolerable !" 

" And we have no tidings from the farm either," replied 
Anton anxiously ; " but the rain is over, and whatever 
happens to-day will happen in sunshine. The clouds are 
breaking yonder, and the blue sky is seen through them. 
How is the Baroness 

" She is calm," said Lenore, " and prepared for every- 
thing." 

Both walked silently up and down the hall. At last 
Lenore went up to Anton, and passionately exclaimed, 
" Wohlfart, it is horrible to me to think of you in a posi- 
tion such as this for our sakes." 

" Is this position then so terrible ?" asked Anton, with 
a mournful smile. 

" You do not perhaps feel it so," said Lenore ; " but you 
are sacrificing for us far more than we deserve. We are 
ungrateful to you ; you would be happier elsewhere." 

She placed herself at the window, and wept bitterly. 

Anton tried to soothe her. " If," said he, " you allude 
to the hasty expressions of the Baron, you need not pity 
me on that account. You know what we have formerly 
said on that subject." 

" It is not that alone," cried Lenore, weeping. 

Anton knew as well as she did that it was not that 
alone, and felt that a confession lay in the words. " Be 
it what it may," said he cheerfully, " why should you 
grudge me the pleasure of an adventure 1 Certainly I am 
an inexperienced soldier, but it seems that our enemies will 
not give me much opportunity of doing them any harm 
to-day." 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



221 



" No one thanks you for all that you bear for our sakes. 
No one !" cried Lenore. 

" No one?" repeated Anton. " Have I not a friend 
here who is only too much inclined to overrate the little 
I am able to do ? Lenore, you have permitted me to draw 
nearer to you than would have been possible under ordinary 
circumstances. Do you reckon it nothing that I should 
have won some of a brother's privileges with regard to you 

Lenore fervently seized and pressed his hand. " Even 
I have been different to you of late to what I should have 
been. I am very unhappy," cried she passionately. " I 
cannot tell to any human being what I feel — not to my 
mother — not to you either. I have lost all confidence and 
all control." She pressed her handkerchief to her eyes. 

" Lenore !" cried her father impatiently from his apart- 
ment. 

" This is no time for explanations," said she more calmly. 
" When we have got over this day, I will try hard to be 
stronger than I am now. Help me in this, Wohlfart." 

She hurried away to the Baron's room. Anton remained 
behind, lost in sad thoughts. Meanwhile the bright sun- 
shine streamed down on the court-yard, the men left the 
guard-room and stood on the threshold ; even the women 
made their way out of their dark retreat, and had to be 
scolded back again. 

" Who knows whether they have not overlooked the 
castle r said one ; " or if they have courage to attack us 
suggested another ; while a sagacious tailor proved, by a 
clever resume of the different reports received, that all 
the Polish frocks were by this time far beyond Rosmin. 
Yet, eagerly as each asserted that the danger must now be 



222 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



over, all listened anxiously to the step of the sentinels, and 
looked constantly to the tower, to see if any signal were 
given thence. Even Anton found the suspense unbearable, 
and at length he too betook himself to the tower. Here 
the whole staff was assembled. The blind Baron sat in his 
arm-chair, behind him stood Lenore's tall figure shading his 
eyes with her parasol ; four riflemen sat in the broad em- 
brasures ; and Fink, perched on the wall, hung down his 
legs into space, and puffed the blue clouds of a cigar into 
the wind. 

" Nothing to be seen asked Anton. 

" Nothing," replied Fink, " except a drunken band of 
our villagers, who are moving off on the Tarow road." 
He pointed to a dark mass just vanishing into the wood. 
"It is very well that we have got rid of the rabble. They 
are afraid of the grey-jackets, and are off to plunder else- 
where. Every hour's delay is a gain, since we reckon 
that at best there is no help to be looked for till to-morrow. 
Now those gentlemen behind the wood are not interesting 
enough to wish for a visit of twenty-four hours from 
them. — This is a grand spot. Baron Rothsattel," continued 
Fink. " Certainly there's not much to be seen — some 
fir-woods, your fields, and plenty of sand ; but it is a 
glorious station to defend, because it is so bare all round 
the castle — without tree or bank. Your sentimentalists, 
indeed, might pronounce it an uninteresting view. But 
what I consider splendid is this : with the exception of the 
nearest barn, which is about three hundred yards off in a 
straight line, there is no shelter better than that of a mole- 
hill for one of the enemy's skirmishers. Far as a rifle-ball 
can range, we are monarchs of the plain below ; only there is 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



223 



a thicket in the way yonder — a plantation, I believe, of 
Fraulein Lenore's." 

" I acknowledge myself guilty," said Lenore. 

" Very well," replied Fink carelessly ; " then you shall 
pay the cost if we are hit. Half-a-dozen riflemen might 
lurk safely there." 

" It is Lenore's favourite spot," said the Baron apolo- 
getically ; " she has a grass-plot there ; it is the only place 
outside the wall where she can sit in the open air." 

"Indeed!" said Fink; "that's a different thing;" and 
looking round for Lenore, he saw she had disappeared. The 
next moment, the yard gate opened, and Lenore, followed by 
a few labourers, hurried to the plantation. 

" What are you going to do?" cried Fink from his height. 

Lenore signified by a gesture that she was going to have 
the trees removed; and seizing a young fir, she exerted 
all her strength to uproot it. The men followed her ex- 
ample. In a few moments the young plantation was done 
away with. Then Lenore herself caught up a spade, and 
began to level the grassy mound. 

Now Anton had planted these trees with the young lady. 
Both had thoroughly enjoyed the improvement. Since 
then, Lenore had gone there daily, and each of the little trees 
had been to her a personal friend. When, therefore, Anton 
saw it all annihilated, he could not help saying somewhat 
coldly, " That feeble plantation would have done us little 
harm ; surely you have caused useless devastation." 

" Why," replied Fink, " the lady has acted like a pru- 
dent commandant of a fortress, the first display of whose 
talents always consists in levelling about the building, and 
a plantation can be made again any spring-day. Carry 



224 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



off the wood to the farmyard," cried he to the men ; " tear 
down the wooden enclosure of the well, bring the boards 
to the yard, and hide the well's mouth." 

When Lenore returned to her place behind her father's 
chair. Fink nodded to her like an elder comrade to a younger, 
took up his telescope, and again explored the border of the 
forest. 

And thus the party spent another hour. No one was 
inclined to speak ; and Fink's occasional jests fell on un- 
fruitful ground. Anton Avent down to keep the people 
in order, but something soon impelled him to return 
to the battlements, and watch the forest with the rest. At 
last, after a longer silence than usual. Fink, throwing away 
his cigar, observed, ''It is getting late, and we pay our 
guests too much honour by expecting them with such silent 
devotion. When the news came of their march, Wohlfart 
and I were both wanted in the house; and as Karl is 
breaking my poor horse's legs at a distance, we sent no one 
to reconnoitre. Now we pay for that sin of omission ; we 
sit here prisoners, and our men are getting tired before 
the enemy comes. It is essential that one of us should 
mount and away to bring in further tidings. This stilbess 
is unnatural : not a creature to be seen in the fields, 
not one on the roads. It seems odd to me, too, that 
for the last two hours no refugees should have arrived from 
the forest; and besides, the very smoke of Neudorf has 
disappeared." 

Anton silently turned away. " Go, my son," said Fink ; 
" take one of the most trustworthy of our men with you ; 
look how things are going on in our village, and beware of 
the pinewood. Stay a moment, I will take one other look 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



225 



through the telescope." He looked long, examined each 
tree, and at last laid down the glass. " There is nothing 
to be seen," said he thoughtfully. " If the gentry we are 
expectmg carried anything besides scythes, we should be 
compelled to believe there is some witchcraft at work. But 
now all is uncertainty. Beware of the woods." 

Anton left the tower, called the superintendent and two 
servants, had the Baron's horse and two of the swiftest 
farm-horses got ready, and the gate opened by the Kunau 
smith. All was silent and peaceful The fowls that Karl 
had bought a few weeks before were scratching away on 
the dunghill ; the pigeons were cooing on the thatch ; a 
little dog, belonging to the smith, had constituted himself 
the guardian of the forsaken buildings, and barked suspi- 
ciously at the riding party. 

They trotted away through the village, and stopped at 
the tavern. The bar was empty. Anton called for the 
landlord. After awhile the man came to the door, looking 
pale and frightened, and clasped his hands when he saw 
Anton. " Just God ! IVIr. Wolilfart, to think of your still 
being in the country ! I believed that you and the family 
had fled to Rosmin or to the heart of our troops long ago. 
Heavens ! this is a misfortune ! Bratzky has been here, and 
has been stirring up the people against the family in the castle, 
and against the Germans everywhere. But he could not 
bring them to attack the castle. So the gi'eatest part of the 
villagers have gone off to the Poles at Tarow. Those that 
have remained behind, have concealed themselves ; and here 
I am burying what I may want to carry off in a hurry." 

" Where, are the enemy now ?" inquired Anton. 

" I do not know," cried the landlord ; " but I know that 

VOL. II. P 



226 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



they are a great kost, and that they have with them lan- 
cers in uniform." 

" Do you know w'hether the wood is safe towards Neu- 
dorf?" 

" How can it be safe ? No one has come from Neudorf 
here for several hours. If the way were open, half the 
village would now be here in my inn, or at the castle." 

" You are right. Will you wait here for the band that 
is coming?" inquired Anton, ready to start. "You would 
be safer in the castle." 

" Who knows !" cried the host. " I cannot leave ; if I 
do, my whole place will be laid waste." 

" But your women asked Anton, holding in his horse. 

" I must have people to help me," wailed the distracted 
man. "As they are young, they must just endure it. 
There is Rebecca, my sister's child : she belongs to a family 
that understands business. She knows how to deal with 
the peasants; she knows how to get money from them, 
even when they are dead drunk. Rebecca," cried he ; " Mr. 
Wohlfart asks whether you wall go to the castle, to be safe 
from these wild men." 

The full face of Rebecca, surrounded with red hair, now 
emerged from the cellar. 

"What have I to do with the castle, uncle?" cried she 
resolutely. " Who do you call wild men ? Our peasants are 
the wildest men in the whole country ; if I can get on witli 
them, I shall get on with any. My aunt has quite lost her 
wits, and there must be some one here who knows how to 
deal with guests. I am much obliged to you, kind sir, but 
I am not afraid ; the gentlemen who are with the party will 
not let any harm happen to me." 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



227 



" Forwards, my men ! " cried Anton. They galloped 
further on through the village ; all the doors were closed, 
but a woman's face was seen here and there looking through 
the small windows after the riders. In this way they 
came along the broad highway, till they got near the 
wood. 

One of the servants now said to Anton, " There is a young 
plantation on the left as you enter the wood, where a hun- 
dred men might lie in ambush without our seeing them, and 
if there, they would soon snuff us out, or cut off our way to 
the castle." 

" You are right," said Anton. " We will ride along the 
field till we have got behind the plantation, where the trees 
stand singly, and we can venture in and out. From thence 
we can explore the plantation on foot." They turned 
accordingly off the road, and crossed the fields, keeping their 
horses out of the range of shot from the wood. Now Anton 
bade them dismount, gave the bridles into the superinten- 
dent's keeping, and cautiously advanced. " Fire into the 
wood," ordered Anton, " and then run back to your horses 
as hard as you can." 

The shots rattled through the plantation, and were an- 
swered in a few moments by an irregular fire, and a loud 
yell. The balls whistled over Anton's head, but the dis- 
tance was great, and the men got back to their horses with- 
out injury. " Gallop ! we know enough. They had not 
the wisdom to keep quiet." The little band flew along the 
highway, the loud cries of their pursuers sounding behind 
them. They arrived breathless at the castle, where they 
found all in alarm. Fink met them at the entrance. 

" You were right," cried Anton : " they are lying in 



•228 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



ambush no doubt these many hours, perhaps in hopes of 
surprising you, or both of us, indeed, on the way to Neu- 
dorf They would then have got the castle without a 
struggle." 

" How many of them may there be ?" asked Fink. 

" Indeed, we had no time to count them," replied 
Anton. " No doubt, only a detachment has advanced so 
far, the greater number are behind in the wood." 

" We have roused them," replied Fink ; " now we may 
expect their visit. It is better for our people to receive 
them before sunset than in the night." 

" They come," cried Lenore's voice from the tower. 

The two friends hurried to the platform. As Anton 
looked over the battlements the sun was preparing to set. 
The golden sky turned the green of the woods to bronze. 
Forth from the forest came, in orderly procession towards 
the village, a troop of horsemen, about half a squadron fol- 
lowed by more than a hundred men on foot, the nearest of 
them armed with muskets, the others carrying scythes. 
The lovely evening light suffused the figures on the tower. 
A cockchafer hummed merrily at Anton's ear, and, high in 
air, the lark was chanting his evening lay. Meanwhile 
the danger was approaching. It came nearer and nearer 
along the winding way, a dark, long-dra\\Ti-out m.ass, un- 
heard as yet, but plainly seen. 

Still the cockchafer kept on humming, and the lark 
soared higher in its rapturous song. At length the proces- 
sion disappeared behind the first cottages in the village. 
These were moments of breathless silence. All looked 
steadfastly at the place where the enemy would emerge into 
sight. Lenore stood next to Anton, her left hand clutched 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



229 



a gun, and her right kept unconsciously moving the bullets 
in a sportsman's pouch. As soon as the horsemen appeared 
in the middle of the village, Fink caught up his cap, and 
said gravely : " Now, gentlemen, to our posts ! You, 
Anton, be kind enough to lead the Baron down-stairs." As 
Anton supported the blind man down the steps, he pointed 
back at Lenore, who remained motionless, gazing at the 
advancing enemy. " And you too, dear lady," continued 
Fink ; "I pray you to think of your own safety." 

"I am safest here," replied Lenore firmly, letting her 
gun drop on the flags. " You will not require me to hide 
my head in the sofa-cushions when you are about to risk 
your life." 

Fink looked with intense admiration at her beautiful 
face, and said : " I have no objection to make. If you are 
resolved to take up your station on this platform, you are 
as safe as anywhere in the castle." 

" I will be cautious," replied Lenore, waving him off. 

" And you, my boys," said Fink, " hide behind the walls ; 
take care not to let a shoulder or the top of your cap be 
seen, and do not fire before I sound an alarm with this. 
You will hear it plainly up here." He took out a broad 
whistle of foreign aspect. " Good-bye till we meet again I" 
said he, looking at Lenore with a beaming glance. 

" Till we meet again," answered Lenore, raising her 
arm and looking after him till the door closed behind 
him. 

Fink found the Baron in the hall. The poor nobleman 
was reduced to a most pitiable state of mind by the excite- 
ment of the day, and the sense of his own uselessness 
at a time when he felt action the rightful privilege of his 



230 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



station. In hm earlier years he had ever met personal 
danger in the most intrepid manner. How much his 
strength was broken now, plainly appeared in his unsuc- 
cessful attempts to maintain his self-control. His hands 
were restlessly outstretched as though seeking some 
weapon, and painful groans forced themselves through his 
lips. 

" My kind host and friend," said Fink, addressing him ; 
" as your indisposition makes it inconvenient to you to 
deal with these strangers, I crave permission to do so in 
your stead." 

" You have rarie blanche, dear Fink," replied the Baron 
in a hoarse voice ; "in fact the state of my eyes is not such 
as to allow me to hope that I can be of any use. A miser- 
able cripple !" cried he, and covered his face with his 
hands. 

Fink turned away with his usual shrug, opened a slide 
in the oaken^door which had been intended to lead to the 
unfinished terraci . and looked out. 

Permit me," said Anton to the Baron, " to lead you to 
a place where you may not be unnecessarily exposed to the 
balls." 

" Do not trouble yourself about me, young man," said 
the Baron ; " I am of less consequence to-day than the 
poorest day-labourer who has taken up arms for my 
sake." 

" Have you anything more to say to me asked Anton 
of Fink, as he took up his gun. 

" Nothing," replied the latter with a smile ; " except to 
beg that you will not forget your usual caution, if you 
come to a hand-to-hand scuffle. Good luck to .you !" He 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



231 



stretched out his hand. Anton grasped it, and hurried to 
the court. 

" The enemy are passing their opinion upon your farming 
just now," said Fink to the Baron ; "we shall have the 
gentlemen here in a few minutes; there they come, cavalry 
and infantry. They stop at the barn j a party of riders 
advance ; it is the staff. There are some handsome young 
fellows among them, and a couple of beautiful horses ; they 
ride beyond the range of our fire, all round the castle. They 
are seeking an entrance, we shall soon hear the knocker at 
the back-door." , 

x4.ll was silent. " Strange," said Fink. "It is surely 
the custom of war, before the assault, to summon the be- 
sieged to surrender ; but there come the officers from their 
circuit round the castle, back to their infantry. Has Wohl- 
fart inspired them with such terror, that they have fled 
away ventre ct terre V 

The ring of horses' hoofs, and the hollow march of the 
infantry were now heard. 

"Zounds !" said Fink ; "the whole corps marches as if 
on parade up to the castle front. If they mean to storm 
your fortress on this side, they have the most remarkable 
conceptions of the nature of a strong place. They draw up 
against us at a distance of five hundred yards. The in- 
fantry in the middle, the horsemen at both sides : quite a 
Eoman order of battle. Julius Caesar over again, I declare. 
Look, they have a drummer ; the fellow advances, the row 
you hear is the beat of drums. Ah, ha ! the leader rides 
forward. He comes on, and halts just before our door. 
Politeness demands that we should inquire what he wants." 
Fink pushed back the heavy bolts of the door, — it opened ; 



232 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



he stepped out on the threshold covering the entrance, and 
carrying his double-barrel carelessly in his hand. When the 
horseman saw the slender figure in hunting costume, stand- 
ing so quietly before him, he reined in his horse, and 
touched his hat, which Fink acknowledged by a slight 
bow. 

" I wish to speak to the proprietor of this estate !" cried 
the horseman. 

" You must put up with me," replied Fink ; " I repre- 
sent him." 

" Tell him, then, that we have some orders of the Go- 
vernment to carry out in his house," cried the rider. 

" Would your chivalry permit me to ask what Govern- 
ment has been frivolous enough to give you a message 
for the Baron Rothsattel 1 From what I hear, the views 
taken in this country about government in general are a 
little disturbed." 

" The Polish Central Committee is your, as well as my 
Government," replied the rider. 

" You are very good-natured in allowing a Central Com- 
mittee to dispose of your heads ; you will allow us, however, 
to hold a different opinion on this particular point." 

" You see that we have the means to enforce obedience 
to the orders of Government, and I advise you not by 
opposition to provoke us to use force." 

" I thank you for this advice, and should be still more 
obliged, if, in your zeal for your duty, you would not 
forget that the ground on which you stand is not public, 
but private property, and that strange horses are only 
allowed to exercise thereon by the consent of the proprietor, 
which, so far as I know, you have not obtained." 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



233 



" We have had words enough, sir," cried the rider im- 
patiently ; "if you are really authorized to represent the 
proprietor, I require you to open this castle to us without 
delay, and to deliver up your arms." 

"Alas!" replied Fink; "I am under the unpleasant 
necessity of refusing your request. I would add a hope, 
that you, together with the gentry in shabby boots, ranged 
behind you there, will leave this place as soon as pos- 
sible. My young folk are just going to see whether they 
can hit the mole-hills under your feet. We should be 
sorry if the bare toes of your companions were to be hurt. 
Begone, sir !" cried he, suddenly changing his careless tone 
to one of such vehement anger and scorn, that the Pole's 
horse reared, and he himself laid his hand on the pistols 
at his holster. 

During this conversation, the rest of the horsemen and 
the infantry had drawn nearer, to catch the words. 

More than once a barrel had been lowered, but they had 
always been pushed back by a few riders in advance of the 
ranks. At Fink's last words, a wild-looking figure in an 
old frieze jacket took aim, a shot was heard, and the bullet 
flew past Fink's cheek, and struck the door behind him. 
At the same moment a suppressed scream was heard, a 
flash seen on the top of the tower, and the luckless marks- 
man fell to the ground. The man who had conducted the 
parley turned his horse, the assailants all fell back, and 
Fink closed the door. As he turned round, Lenore stood 
on the first flight of the stairs, the recently discharged gun 
in her hand, her large eyes fixed wildly upon him. " Are 
you wounded cried she, beside herself. 

" Not at all, my faithful comrade," cried Fink. 



234 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



Lenore threw away the gun, and sank at her father s 
feet, hiding her face on his knees. Her father bent over 
her, took her head in his hands ; and the nervous agitation 
of the last few hours brought on a convulsive fit of sobbing. 
His daughter passionately clasped his trembling frame, and 
silently held him in her arms. There they were, a broken- 
down existence, and one in which the warm glow of youth- 
ful life was bursting into flame. 

Fink looked out of the window ; the enemy had retired 
beyond range of fire, and were, as it seemed, holding a con- 
sultation. Suddenly he stepped up to Lenore, and laying 
his hand on her arm, said, " I thank you, dear lady, for 
having so promptly punished that rascal. And now I beg 
you to leave this room with your father. We shall do 
better if anxiety on your account does not withdraw our 
eyes from the enemy." Lenore shrunk back at his touch j 
and a warm blush overspread her cheek and brow. 

" We will go," she said, with downcast eyes. " Come, 
my father." She then led the Baron up-stairs to her 
mother's room. There she heroically strove to compose 
herself, sat down by the couch of the invalid, and did not 
go near Fink again the whole evening. 

" Now then, we are by ourselves," cried Fink to the 
sentinels ; " short distances, and a steady aim ! If they 
storm this stone building, they shall get nothing by it but 
bloody pates." 

Accordingly, there he stood with his companions, and 
looked with keen eye at the ranks of their assailants. 
There was a great stir among them. Some detachments 
went off to the village, the horsemen rode up and down ; 
there was evidently something afloat. At last a party 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



235 



brought some thick boards, and a row of empty carts. The 
upper parts of them were lifted off, and the lower placed in 
a row, the poles away from the castle, the hind-wheels to- 
wards it. Next, boards were nailed together, and made into 
pent-houses, which being fastened to the back of the carts, 
projected a few feet beyond them, and afforded a tolerable 
shelter for five or six men. 

" Ask Mr. Wohlfart to come here," cried Fink to one of 
his riflemen. 

" There has been shooting," said Anton, as he entered the 
hall ; " is any one^wounded ?" 

" This thick door, and one of the rabble yonder," replied 
Fink. " Without any order, they replied to the first shot 
from the tower." 

" There is not an enemy to be seen in the court. A 
troop of horsemen came to the gate ; one ventured up to 
the palings, and tried to look through. But when I 
started up behind them, they all took to flight in terror." 

" Look there," said Fink ; " they are amusing them- 
selves in making small barricades. As long as this evening 
light allows us to see, the danger is not great. But in 
the night, those huts on wheels may come a little too 
near." 

" The sky keeps clear," said Anton ; " there will be a 
bright starlight." 

" If I only knew," said Fink, " why they have had the 
madness to attack the strongest side of our fortress. It 
can only be, that your peaceful visage has had the effect of 
the Gorgon's head upon them. Henceforth you will be de- 
scribed as a scarecrow in all Slavonic fights." 

It was dark when the hammering away at the carts 



236 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



ceased. A word of command was heard. The officers 
summoned a few men by name to the poles, and six move- 
able roofs rolled on rapidly, to about thirty yards from the 
front of the castle. 

" Now for it," cried Fink. " Remain here, and look to 
the lower storey." He sprang up the steps ; the long row 
of front rooms was opened, one could see from one end 
of the house to the other. " Mind your heads," cried 
he to the sentinels. Immediately came an irregular fire 
against the windows of the upper storey, the leaden shower 
rattling through the panes, the glass clattermg on the floor. 
Fink took out his whistle, a shrill sound vibrated loudly 
through the house, and was responded to by the salvos of 
the besieged from both storeys, and from the tower. 

And now followed an irregular fire from both sides. The 
besieged had the advantage — their aim was truer, and they 
were better concealed than those without. 

During the brief pauses. Fink's voice was to be heard 
crying, " Steady, men ; keep close." He was everywhere ; 
his light step, the clear tones of his voice, his wild jests 
from time to time, kept up the spirits of all. They filled 
Lenore's soul with a thrill of rapture, she hardly felt the full 
terrors of her situation ; nor did the convulsive starts of 
her father, nor her mother's low groans, lead her to despair, 
for the words of the man she loved sounded like a message 
of salvation in her ear. 

For about an hour, the battle raged around the walls. 
The great building rose dark in the pale starlight ; no light, 
no form was to be seen from without, only the flashes that 
from time to time shone out from a corner of the windows, 
announced to those outside that there was life within. He 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



237 



who walked through the rooms could discover a dark shape 
here and there behind a pillar, could see eyes glowing with 
excitement, and a head bent to observe the foe. True, 
none of the men there assembled were used to this bloody 
work ; they had been gathered from the plough, the work- 
shop, from every species of peaceful industry ; and painful 
excitement, feverish suspense, protracted during the whole 
day, was visible in the aspect of the strongest among 
them. 

Yet Anton remarked with a gloomy satisfaction, how 
calm he himself was, and how brave the men in general. 
They were busy, they were at work, and even in the midst 
of their deadly occupation, the strength and energy w^re 
evident, which all active labour gives to man. After the 
first sliotS; those on the front side loaded a^ composedly as 
though they were at their every-day toil. The face of the 
farm-servant hardly looked more anxious than when he 
walked between his oxen in the field ; and the skilful tailor 
handled his gun with as much indifference as he would his 
smoothing-iron. It was only the reserve-guard who were 
restless; not from fear, but from dissatisfaction with their 
own inactivity. At times a bold fellow would steal into 
the house, behind Anton's back, in order to have a chance 
of firing off" his gun in front, and Anton was obliged to 
place the superintendent at the court-door, to prevent this 
courageous way of desertion. 

" Only once, Mr. Wohlfart ; do let me have one shot 
at them ? " urgently pleaded a young fellow from Neu- 
dorf. 

" Wait," replied Anton, loading, " your turn will come ; 
in an hour you will relieve the others here." 



238 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



Meanwhile the stars rose higher, and tlie shots became 
fewer, as both parties grew weary. 

" Our people are the strongest," said Anton to his friend ; 
" the men in the court are not to be kept back any 
longer." 

"It is all little better than shooting in the dark," re- 
plied Fink ; " true, they make it matter of conscience to 
take good aim, but it is generally a mere accident if their 
balls take eiSFect. Nothing has happened to our side but 
a few slight wounds, and I believe those without have 
not suffered more." 

The rolling of wheels was now heard. " Listen ; they 
are drawing back their war-chariots." The firing ceased, 
and the whole line disappeared in the darkness. " Leave 
off," continued Fink ; " and, Anton, if you have any- 
thing to drink, give it, for these have shown themselves 
brave men. Then let us quietly await the renewal of the 
siege," 

Anton accordingly had some refreshments distributed to 
the men, and went through the whole house, dismissing 
them, and examining the rooms, from the cellar upwards. 
As he drew near the women's rooms on the lower storey, he 
heard, even at a distance, a lamentable chaos of voices. 
Entering, he found the bare walls dimly lighted, the floor 
covered with straw, on which crouched women and chil- 
dren. The women expressed their terror by every kind of 
passionate gesture, many ceaselessly imploring the help 
of Heaven, without any alleviation of their intense misery ; 
others staring straight before them, stunned by the hor- 
rors of the night ; in short, the pleasantest impression 
was that made by the children, who, having howled with 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



239 



all their might, had no further care. In the midst of ail 
this wretchedness, these little ones lay, their heads resting 
on a bundle of clothes, their small hands clenched, sleeping 
as quietly as in their beds at home, while one young woman 
sat in a corner rocking her sleeping infant in her arms, 
apparently forgetful of all besides. At last, still watch- 
ing the child, she came up to Anton, and asked how her 
husband was faring. 

Meanwhile the enemy made large fires, and part of 
their soldiery sat near them, and were seen to boil their 
coffee. There was gi'eat disturbance, too, in the village, 
men were heard shouting and ordering, lights were seen 
in all directions, and there was rapid coming and going 
along the streets. 

" That does not look like a truce," cried Anton. 

At that moment, a loud knock was heard at the back- 
door ; the friends looked at each other, and rushed down 
to the court. 

" Rothsattel and roe-bucks," whispered a voice, impro- 
vising a password. 

" The forester !" cried Anton, pushing back the bars, 
and letting the old man in. 

" Shut the gate," said the forester, " they are close on 
my track. Good evening to you all ; I am come to in- 
quire whether you can make any use of me ?" 

" Get into the house," cried Anton, " and tell us all." 

" Everything is as quiet in the forest as in the church," 
said the forester ; " the cattle are lying in the quarry, and 
the shepherd, too, is there with his creatures. The farmer 
keeps watch. I crept, in the dark, into the village to re- 
connoitre, and now come to warn you. As they have 



240 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



not made much of their guns, the rascals are going to try- 
fire. They have got together all the grease and tar in the 
village, they have taken all the women's shavings, and 
whenever they found an oil lamp, they poured it over 
bundles of rushes." 

" They mean to burn the yard gate ?" asked Fink. 

The forester made a face. " Not the yard gate ; they 
have a deadly fear of that, because you have artillery- 
wagons and a cannon in the yard." 

" Artillery !" cried both friends in amazement. 

" Yes," nodded the forester ; " through the chinks of the 
planks they have seen blue carts, horses, and a gun- 
carriage," 

"Karl's new potato-carts, the plough, and the water- 
butt !" cried Anton. 

" No doubt," replied the forester. "On my way 
here, I peeped into the inn yard, and waited for some 
one that I knew. Then Rebecca ran by me with a basket ; 
I whistled, and called her out behind the stable. ' Are 
you there, old Swede V said the wild thing. ' Take care 
that your head be not set on fire. I have no time to talk 
with you, I must attend to the gentlemen, they want 
cofifee.' 'Why not champagne?' said I. 'No doubt the 
gentlemen are very polite, you pretty creature,' said I — 
for one gets over women with floweiy speeches. ' You are 
an ugly fellow yourself,' said the girl, laughing at me ; 
' get away with you !' ' They won't hurt you, my little 
Rebecca,' said I, stroking her cheeks. ' What's that to 
you, old sorcerer 1 ' said the little toad ; * if I were 
to scream, the whole roomful would come to my aid.' 
' Don't be so contradictious, my child,' said I ; ' be a 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



241 



good girl, fill another bottle, and bring it out here. One 
must do something for one's friends in bad times.' Then 
she snatched the bottle out of my hand, telling me to wait, 
and ran off with her basket. After a while, she returned 
with the bottle quite full, for she is a good creature at 
heart, and as she gave it me, she cried, ' If you see the 
young gentlemen in the castle, tell them that the folks here 
have a great dread of their artillery ; they have been ask- 
ing me whether it was true that they had cannon. I told 
them I was quite sure that was the name of a great thing 
I had often seen on the property.' Then I slunk off again, 
and crept along the ditch, past fellows with scythes, who 
are mounting guard behind our farm-yard. When I was 
about a hundred yards from them, I tore away, and they 
swore after me. That's how things stand." 

"That notion of theirs about fire is uncomfortable," said 
Fink ; "if they understand the thing, they may smoke us 
out like badgers." 

"The threshold is stone, and this thick door is high 
above the ground," said the forester. 

"I am not afraid of the flames, but of the smoke and 
glare," replied Fink ; " if they light up our windows, our 
men will aim still worse. One good thing for us is that 
the gentlemen on the English saddles, who head the enemy, 
have never stormed any but a petticoat fortress before. 
We will bring all our men to the front, and leave only two 
or three sentinels behind ; we will trust Rebecca's story." 

Fresh cartridges were given out, and a fresh detachment 
stationed at the windows, additional men were placed in 
the halls of the upper and lower storey, and on the plat- 
form of the tower, Anton commanding up-stairs, the smith 

VOL. II. Q 



242 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



below, and the forester remaining with a small body in re- 
sei-ve. All these arrangements were just made in time, for 
a loud hum was heard, at a distance, together with shouts 
of command, the march of an advancing body, and the 
rumbling of carts, 

" Keep your guns at full cock," cried Fink, " and fire 
only at those who press in at the door." 

The wheeled pent-houses moved on as before, a Polish 
order was given, and a rapid fire began on the part of the 
enemy, exclusively directed to the important door, and the 
windows near it. The balls thundered on the oaken planks, 
and on the masonry, and more than one found its way 
through the window openings, and struck the ceiling above 
the heads of the garrison. Fink cried to the forester, "You 
shall run a risk, old man ; take your people to the back- 
door, open it, creep round close to the house, and drive 
away those fellows behind the three carts to the left, who 
have ventured too near ; get close to them, you can knock 
them all over if you aim true ; the carts have no covering, 
you can be back before the fellows run out from behind. 
Be quick and cautious ; with this whistle I will give the 
signal for your rushing out from the shadow of the walls." 

The forester collected his men, and hurried to the court. 
Fink ran up-stairs to Anton. The enemy's fire grew still 
more frequent. " This time it is grim earnest," said Anton. 
" Our people, too, are getting excited." 

" Here comes the real danger," cried Fink, pointing 
through a loophole in the wall, to a high shapeless mass, 
which slowly approached. It was a harvest wagon, 
loaded to an immense height and breadth, and propelled 
by invisible hands to the front of the castle. " A fire- 



DEBIT AND CREDIT, 



243 



ship ! there are the yellow straw bundles ou the top. 
Their plan is evident, they are steering it against the 
door. Now, then, we must shoot well ; not one of the 
fellows who mount it must get back safe," He sprang up 
the stairs, and cried to those stationed on the tower, " Every- 
thing now depends upon you ; as soon as you see the men 
who are pushing the wagon onwards, fire ! wherever you can 
see a head, or even a leg, fire ! Every one of them must die !" 
The wagon came nearer. Fink raised his owti rifle twice, 
took aim, and twice laid it down. The wagon load was so 
high that it was impossible to see those who propelled it. 
These were moments of painful suspense on both sides ; 
even the enemy's fire ceased, every eye was fixed on the 
fearful vehicle which was to bring the bitter conflict to a 
fatal close. At length the backs of the hindmost men at 
the pole came into sight. Two flashes from Fink's rifle, 
two yells, the wagon stood still, those who were pushing 
it crowded closer. Two dark bodies lay on the ground. 
Fink loaded again, a wild smile playing round his lips. A 
raging fire upon the tower was the answer given by the 
foe. One of the men on the tower was shot in the breast, 
his g-un fell down over the wall, — he sank at Fink's feet. 
Fink merely glanced at him, and rammed his second bullet 
down. At that moment some figures rushed out of the 
darkness to the wagon. A spirited shout was heard, and 
the machine was once more set in motion. " Brave fellows," 
muttered Fink, " they are doomed to death." Other forms 
were now visible at the end of the pole. Fink again took 
aim. Again a cry of anguish, but the wagon moved on. 
It was not more than thirty yards from the door, the moment 
was indeed critical. The shrill sound of the whistle was 



244 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



heard through the night ; from the windows of the upper 
storey flew the fiery salvo, and from the left side of the 
house rose a loud cry. The forester made a sally, a crowd 
of dark figures rushed against the pent-house that stood 
nearest to the corner of the castle ; for a moment there was 
a scufile, then some shots fired, and the conquered foe fled 
from their shelter to the open plain. For the third time 
the deadly double-barrel flashed from the tower, and struck 
the pole of the wagon, and the men who were propelling 
it, seized with a sudden panic, retreated from its cover 
into the sheltering darkness. But this did not avail them. 
From the tower and the windows of the upper storey, 
bullets pursued them, and more than one fell. Behind 
them rose a cry of rage, and a dark line rapidly advanced 
to receive the fugitives. A universal fire against the house 
began. Then the enemy retreated rapidly as they had ad- 
vanced, carrying the wounded and the carts back with 
them. The fire-ship alone, a dark mass, still stood a few 
yards from the door. The firing ceased, and an uncomfort- 
able silence succeeded to the deadly conflict. 

In the hall of the upper storey Anton and Fink, met, 
and were immediately joined by the forester. Each of the 
friends silently sought to ascertain, in the dim light, 
whether the other stood before him unharmed. "Capitally 
done, forester," cried Fink. " Demand to be admitted to 
the Baron, and give in your report." 

"And request Friiulein Lenore to give you linen for 
dressings ; we have had losses," said Anton mournfully, as 
he pointed to the floor, where two men sat leaning against 
the wall and groaning. 

" Here comes a third," replied Fink, as a dark shape 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



245 



was slowly carried down stairs from the tower. " I fear 
the man is dead, he lay at my feet like a log." 

"Who is it?" inquired Anton, shuddering. 

" Barowsky, the tailor," whispered one of the bearers. 

" "What a fearful night ! " cried Anton, turning away. 

" We must not think of that now," said Fink. " Human 
life is only valuable when one is ready to surrender it on a 
fitting opportunity. The great point is, that we have 
shaken off that fiery millstone from our throats. It is not 
impossible that the wretches may yet succeed in kindling 
itj but it will not do much harm at its present distance." 

At that moment a bright light shone through the loop- 
holes of the tower. All rushed to the window. A dazzling 
light flamed up from the opposite side of the wagon ; and 
a sudden impetus hurled the heavy mass against the wall 
of the house. A single man sprang back from the wagon : 
a dozen guns were pointed at him at once. 

" Stop !" cried Fink in a piercing voice. " It is too late : 
spare him, he is a fine fellow ; the mischief is done." 

" Merci, Monsieur ; au revoir !" said a voice from below ; 
and the man sprang uninjured into the darkness. 

In a moment the wagon was in a blaze; and from the 
straw and rushes with which it was laden on the top, the 
yellow flames rose crackling, while firebrands flew in all 
directions. The house was suddenly illuminated : masses 
of smoke burst through the shattered windows. 

" That is powder," cried Fink. " Steady, steady, my 
men ! We will keep the enemy oft' if they force an entrance. 
You, Anton, see whether you can put out the fire." 

"Water!" cried the men; "the window-frame has 
caught I" Without, there were fresh orders shouted out. 



246 



DEBIT ANI3 CREDIT. 



The drums beat ; and with a wild cry of triumph, a cordon 
of skirmishers neared the house. The fire of the besiegers 
began once more, in order to impede the quenching of the 
flames. Water was brought from the great butt in the 
yard, and poured on the burning window-frames — a danger- 
ous task enough ; for the front of the house was lighted up, 
and the ever-advancing skirmishers aimed at every figure 
as it became visible. The besieged glanced anxiously 
at the flames, and returned the fire of their opponents un- 
steadily. Even the sentinels in the court looked more 
behind than before them. The disorder became general. 
The moment of greatest danger had come. All seemed lost ! 

Next a man called down from the tower, "They are 
bringing short ladders from the village; we can see the 
axes in their hands." 

" They will get over the palings, and. break in the win- 
dows of the lower storey," cried the men to each other in 
utmost alarm. 

The forester rushed to the court. Fink carried off a few 
men with him to the side of the house on which the men 
with ladders were advancing. All were in confusion. Even 
Fink's threatening voice no longer took effect upon them. 

At that moment some men, with bars of iron in their 
hands, were seen hurrying in from the courtyard to the 
hall-door. " Make way !" cried a stalwart figure ; " this is 
blacksmith's work !" The man pushed back the bolts of the 
door. The opening was filled by the burning wagon. Spite 
of smoke and flames, the smith leapt upon its biu-ning frame. 
" Help me, you hares !" screamed he in angry tones. 

" He is right," cried Anton. " Onwards, my men !" 

Boards and poles were brought, and the men unweariedly 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



247 



pressed onwards through the smoke, and ^pushed and 
heaved away at the glowing mass. At length the smith 
succeeded in throwing down some of the sheaves. One 
could now get a glance of the dark sky, and the smoke 
was less stifling. 

" Now we have it !" cried he triumphantly ; and bundle 
after bundle fell to the ground, and burnt harmlessly away. 
The wagon was more and more quickly unloaded, blazing 
feather-beds and billets of wood falling with other things. 

Anton had the door half-closed as the enemy's bullets 
passed through the flames, and the men had to use their 
levers from the side. The wagon-ladders fell down, burnt to 
charcoal; and with a shout of triumph, all the levers were 
applied at once, and the fragments of the wagon pushed a 
few yards from the door, which was quickly locked again 
from inside ; while the men, black as imps, and with clothes 
burnt, loudly congratulated each other. 

" Such nights as these make strong friendships," cried the 
smith in great delight, as he shook Anton's hand, which 
was little less black than his own. 

Meanwhile, the axes of the besiegers were hacking away 
at several windows of the lower storey, the loosened boards 
creaked, and Fink's voice was heard saying, " Knock them 
down with the butt-ends ! " 

Anton and the forester now betook themselves upon the 
window through which the besiegers sought to enter. But 
the worst was over there too. Fink came to meet them, 
the bloody axe of an insurgent in his hand, and flinging it 
away 5 he cried to Anton and his party, " Put new boards 
into the windows. I hope the butchery is at an end." 

A few more salvoes from without, and single shots from 



248 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



within, and all was still in the castle and in the field. The 
walls still glowed a while in the fire-light, but it faded and 
faded away. The wind rose and drove away the smoke 
curling round the windows from the burning fragments 
before the door. The pure night air filled the corridors 
and the hall once more, and the starlight shone quietly on 
the sunken eyes and pale faces of the gan-ison. On both 
sides, the energies of the combatants were exhausted. 

"What hour of the night is it?" asked Fink, going up 
to Anton, who was watching the movements of the enemy 
through the loopholes of the wall. 

" Past midnight," replied Anton. 

They went up to the tower, and looked about them. 
The fields around the castle were empty. 

" They have laid themselves down to sleep," said Fink. 
" Even the fires below are out, and but a few isolated 
voices sound from the village. Those shadows all round 
the house alone tell us that we are besieged. We have 
some hours of peace before us ; and as we shall hardly 
get sleeping-time to-morrow, our people must avail them- 
selves of the present. Leave only the necessary sentinels, 
and let the posts be relieved in two hours. If you have no 
objection, I shall go to bed too. Let me be called as soon 
as anything is stirring outside. You will take very good 
care of the night posts, that I know." So saying, Fink 
turned away and went to his room, where he threw himself 
on his bed, and in a few moments was fast asleep. 

Anton hurried to the guard-room, arranged the posts 
with the forester, and fiixed the order in which they were 
to be relieved. 

" I shall not be sleepy," said the old man ; " firstly. 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



249 



because of my age ; next, from my habits as a huntsman. I 
will, if you allow, arrange the posts, and look after things 
in general." 

Once more Anton went round the court and the stables. 
Here, too, quiet was restored : only the horses restlessly 
stamped their hoofs on the hard ground. Anton gently 
opened the door of the women's rooms, in the second of 
which the wounded had been laid. As he entered, he 
saw Lenore on a stool near the straw beds ; two of the 
stranger women at her feet. He bent down over the couch 
of the wounded : the colourless face and disordered hair of 
the imfortunate men looked ghastly on the white pillows 
which Lenore had snatched from her own bed. 

" How fares it with you?" whispered Anton. 

" We have tried to bind up the wounds," replied Lenore. 
" The forester says that there is hope of both." 

" Then," continued Anton, " leave them in charge of the 
women, and avail yourself of these hours of rest." 

" Do not speak to me of rest," said Lenore, rising. " We 
are in the chamber of death." She took him by the hand, 
and led him to the opposite corner, drew aside a dark cloak, 
and pointed to a human form beneath it. " He is dead ! " 
said she with a hollow voice. " As I raised him with these 
hands, he died. His blood is on my clothes; and it is 
not the only blood that has been spilt to-day. It was I," 
she wildly cried, convulsively pressing Anton's hand ; " it 
was I who began this blood-shedding. How I am to bear 
this curse, I know not; how I am to live on after this 
day, I know not. If I have henceforth a place in this 
world, it is in this room. Leave me here, Wohlfart, and 
think no more about me." 



250 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



She turned away and resumed her seat on the stool 
by the side of the straw bed. Anton drew the cloak over 
the dead, and silently left the room. He went next to the 
guard-room, and took up his gun. "I am going to the 
tower, forester," said he. 

" Each has his own way," muttered the old man. " The 
other is wiser — he sleeps. But it will be cold up there ; 
this one shall not be without a wrap." He sent a man 
up with a villager's cloak, and ordered him to remain with 
the gentleman. 

Anton told the man to lie down and sleep, and wrapped 
himself up in the warm covering. Then he sat in silence, 
resting his head against the wall over which Lenore had 
leaned as she fired. And his thoughts flew over the plain 
— from the gloomy present to the uncertain futiure. He 
looked beyond the circle of the enemy's sentinels, and over 
the darker boundary of the fir-woods, which kept him pri- 
soner here, and bound him to circumstances which appeared 
to him strange and improbable, as though he read them in 
a book. His wearied mind contemplated his own fate as 
though it were that of a stranger, and he could now calmly 
look down into the depths of his own spirit, which the 
stormy alternations of the day had hitherto hid from him. 
He saw his former life pass in review before him : the 
figure of the noble lady on the balcony of her castle ; the 
beautiful girl in her skiff, surrounded by her swans ; the wax- 
lights in the dancing-saloon ; the mournful hour when the 
Baroness had placed her jewels in his hands ; each of those 
moments when Lenore's eyes had lovingly met his own. 
All those seasons now returned to his mind, and he plainly 
discerned the glamour that she had cast ai'ound him. All 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



251 



that had chained his fanc}"", warped liis judgment, and 
flattered his self-love, now appeared to him an illusion. 

It had been an error of his childish spirit which vanity 
had fostered. Alas ! the brilliant mirage had long been 
dissipated in which the life of the aristocratic family seemed 
great, noble, enviable to the poor accountant's son. Another 
feeling had replaced it, and a purer ; a tender friendship for 
the only one in that circle who had retained her strength 
when the others sank. Now, she too parted from him. 
He felt this was, and must be so more and more. He felt 
this now without pain, as natural, as inevitable. And 
further, he felt that he was thus free from the ties that 
detained him here. He raised his head, and looked over 
the woods into the distance. He blamed himself first, that 
this loss did not grieve him more, and next, that he was 
conscious of a loss. Had there then been a silent hope at 
the bottom of his heart ? Had he thought to win the 
beauteous girl to share his future life ? had he dreamed of 
becoming a member of the family by whom he was em- 
ployed ? If he had occasionally been weak enough to do 
this, he now condemned himself. 

He had not always felt rightly, he had secretly cher- 
ished many a selfish thought when looking at Lenore. That 
had been wrong, and it served him right that he now stood 
alone among strangers, in relations that pained him because 
they were indefinite, and in a position from which his own 
resolve could not free him at present, could hardly free him 
for some time to come. 

And yet he felt himself free. " I shall do my duty, and 
only think of her happiness," said he aloud. But her 
happiness ? He thought of Fink, — thought of the character 



252 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



of his friend, which always impressed, but often angered 
him. Would he love her in return, and would he allow 
himself to be bound 1 " Poor Lenore !" he sighed. 

In this way, Anton stood till the bright aspect of the 
northern horizon passed over to the east, and thence a pale 
grey spread over the sky, the chilly forerunner of the rising 
sun. Then Anton looked once more at the landscape round 
him. He could already count the enemy's sentinels, who 
surrounded the castle in pairs, and here and there a scythe 
shone in the brightening light. Bending down, he woke the 
man, who had gone to sleep on the flags stained by his com- 
rade's blood ; then he went to the guard-room, threw 
himself on the straw that the forester carefully shook down 
for him, and fell asleep just as the lark soared from the 
dewy ground, by its joyous call, to summon forth the sun. 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



253 



CHAPTER XI. 

* FTER an hour, the forester woke the sleeper. Anton 
^ started up and looked round, stupified at the unfami- 
liar scene, 

" It is almost a sin to disturb you," said the good old 
man ; " all is quiet outside, only the enemy's cavalry have 
gone off to Rosmin," 

" Gone off !" cried Anton ; "then we are free." 

"Except for the foot-folks," said the forester; "and 
they are still two to one of us. They hold us fast. And 
I have something else to say. There is no more water in 
the butt Our men have drunk half of it, the rest was 
thrown on the fire. For my part I can do without it, but 
the castle is full of men, and they will hardly get through 
the day without a drink." 

Anton sprang up. " This is a melancholy good-morning, 
my old friend." 

" The well is broken," continued the old man ; " but 
how if we were to send some of the women to the brook ? 
The sentinels would not do much to the women ; perhaps 
they would not prevent them from getting a few buckets- 
ful of water." 



254 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



"A few buckets would not do much for us," replied 
Anton. 

" They would raise the spirits," said the old man ; 
" they would have to be shared. Were Rebecca liere, she 
would get us the water. We must try what we can do 
with the others. Those confounded fellows are not bad to 
women, if they be but bold. If you approve, I will see 
wliat I can make of some of our girls." 

The forester called down to the kitchen — " Suska !" 
The young Pole sprang up stairs. 

" Listen to me, Suska," said the forester anxiously ; 
when the Baron awakes, he will call for his hot water ; 
all the water in the castle is done ; we have beer and 
schnapps enough, indeed, but what Christian can wash his 
hands in beer 1 So take the buckets, and get us water ; 
run down to the brook, you will get on very well with 
your countrymen. Don't stay too long chattering, or we 
shall get a scolding. And, I say, just ask our neighbours 
why they stand there still with their lances ; their horsemen 
have gone away. We have no objection to their moving 
off too." 

The girl willingly caught up the buckets, the forester 
opening the yard-door for her, and down she went to the 
water. Anton watched her in anxious suspense. She 
got to the brook without any hindrance, and without 
troubling herself about the sentinels, who were some twenty 
yards off, and who looked with much curiosity at her. At 
length one of the men with scythes went up to her. The 
girl put down her buckets, crossed her arms, and both 
began a peaceful conversation. Thus the Pole took up 
the buckets, filled them with water, and gave them to 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



255 



the girl, who slowly returned to the castle, the forester 
opening the gate for her, and saying in a caressing tone, 
" Bravo, Susan ! what did the sentinel say to you 

" Stupid things," replied she, blushing. " He told me 
that I must open the door for him and his comrades when 
they return to the castle." 

" As if that were all ?" said the forester slyly. " So 
they mean to return to the castle ?" 

" To be sure they do," said the girl. " Their horsemen 
are gone to meet the soldiers from Rosmin. . When they 
return, the man saiji they would all run together to the 
castle." 

" We shall hardly admit them," replied the forester. 
" None shall enter the gate but your sweetheart yonder. 
You have, I suppose, promised him admittance, if he comes 
alone and late f 

No !" answered Susan indignantly ; " but I dared not 
be uncivil." 

" Perhaps we may tiy it once more," suggested the 
forester, glancing at Anton. 

" I don't think it," replied the latter. " An officer i-s 
riding round the posts, and the poor fellow will get a 
rough return for his gallantry. Come, and let us divide 
our little store. Half of this first bucket for the family — 
half for us men ; let the other make a breakfast for the 
women and children." 

Anton himself poured the water into the different ves- 
sels, and appointed the smith to guard it. While so doing, 
he said to the forester, " This is the hardest task that we 
have had as yet. I do not know how we are to hold out 
through the day." 



256 



DEBIT AND CEEDIT. 



" Many things may happen," replied the forester con- 
solingly. 

A bright spring day now began ; the sun rose cloudlessly 
behind the farm-yard, and soon warmed the mist that 
hung around the walls ; the people sought out the sunny 
corner of the court ; the men sat in little groups with their 
wives and children ; and all seemed in good heart. Anton 
went in and out among them. " We must have patience 
till noon — perhaps till the afternoon ; then our troops will 
come." 

" If these fellows yonder do no more than at present," 
replied the smith, " we may be easy enough. They stand 
there like so many wooden posts." 

" They lost their courage yesterday," said another con- 
temptuously. 

" It was a mere straw-fire ; the smith threw it down ; 
and they have nothing to follow it up with," cried a third. 

The smith folded his arms and smiled proudly, his wife 
looking at him with delight. 

Next the upper storey began to show symptoms of life. 
The Baron rang and demanded a report. Anton went up 
to give it him, then entered Fink's room and woke his 
friend, who was still fast asleep. 

" Good morning, Tony," cried Fink, comfortably stretch- 
ing himself. " I shall be down in a moment. If you can 
send me a little water through some of your connexions, I 
shall be very grateful to you." 

" I will get you a bottle of wine from the cellar," replied 
Anton ; " you must wash in wine to-day." 

" Ha !" cried Fink, "is it come to that ? At all events 
it is not port- wine, I hope." 



DEBIT AND CEEDIT. 



257 



" We have but a few bottles of either kind," continued 
Anton. 

" You are a bird of ill omen," said Fink, looking for his 
boots. " You have doubtless the more beer in your cellars ?" 

" Just enough to give the garrison one draught. A 
small cask of brandy is our chief treasure." 

Fink whistled the Hessian march. " You will own, my 
son, that your tenderness for the women and children was 
somewhat sentimental. I already see you, in my mind's 
eye, with your shirt sleeves tucked up, killing the lean 
cow, and, with your old conscientiousness, administering 
mouthsful to the famished household — you in the middle 
— fifty gaping mouths around you. Be sure that you pre- 
pare a dozen birch rods ; in a few hours the screams of the 
hungry children will rise to heaven, and, in spite of your 
philanthropy, you will be obliged to scourge the whole 
troop of them. Otherwise, I think we managed pretty well 
yesterday. I have had a famous sleep, and so things must 
take their chance another day. Now let's go and have a 
look at the enemy." 

The two friends mounted to the tower. Anton reported 
what he had heard. Fink carefully explored the sentries' 
posts, and the line of road, till lost in the wood. " Our 
situation is too quiet to be comfortable," said he, shutting 
up the glass. 

" They mean to starve us out," said Anton gravely. 

" I give them credit for that clever notion ; and they do 
not judge ill, for between ourselves I have strong doubts 
whether we have any relief to hope for." 

" We may depend upon Karl," said Anton. 

" And upon my bay, too," replied Fink ; " but it is 

VOL. II. R 



258 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



very possible that my poor Blackfoot may have the misfor- 
tune to be carrying the carcase of one of the insurgents at 
this very moment ; and whether the youth Karl may not 
have fallen into the hands of one of the bands who, no 
doubt, swarm throughout the country ; whether he ever 
found our soldiers ; whether they chose to march to our 
aid ; whether, in short, they will have the sense to come 
in time ; and whether they are strong enough, after all, to 
disperse the troop gone out to meet them : these, my boy, 
are all questions which may reasonably be put ; and I 
for one dare not answer them hopefully." 

" We might attempt a sally, but it would be bloody 
work," said Anton. 

" Pooh !" said Fink ; " it would be useless, which is 
worse. We might disperse one set of them, and another 
would be there in an hour ; nothing but having a strong 
party to relieve us can get us out of the scrape. As long 
as we keep within these walls we are strong ; on the open 
field, encumbered with women and children, a dozen horse- 
men might ride us down." 

" We must wait then," said Anton gloomily. 

" Well said, after all. The whole of human wisdom 
consists in never putting to one's-self, or to others, questions 
which nobody can answer. The affair threatens to be 
tedious " 

The friends came down again, and hour after hour passed, 
weary houi's of leaden inactivity. First Anton, then Fink, 
looked through the glass at the opening into the wood. 
There was little to be seen ; patrols came and went ; armed 
peasants entered the village, and were despatched in differ- 
ent directions ; the sentinels were regularly inspected and 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



259 



relieved every two hours ; the besiegers were busy in search- 
ing and disarming the surrounding villages, in order to 
make a more vigorous assault than ever on the castle. 

The Germans were pent up in their fortress like a 
wild beast in its lair, and the huntsmen waited with calm 
confidence for the time when hunger, or else fire, should 
complete their conquest. 

Meanwhile Fink tried to employ his people ; made the 
men clean and brighten their arms, and himself inspected 
them aU ; next, powder and lead were given out, bullets 
cast and cartridges made. Anton showed the women how 
to clean the house and the court, as well as they could, 
without water. All this had the good efi'ect of keeping 
the prisoners occupied for a few hours. 

The sun rose higher, and the breeze wafted the peaceful 
chime of beUs from the nearest village. 

" Our breakfast will be sparing enough," said Anton to 
his comrades. " The potatoes are roasted in the ashes, 
meat and bacon are finished ; and the cook cannot bake, 
for we are again without water." 

" As long as we have the milk-cow in the stable," re- 
plied Fink, " we still possess a treasure which we can dis- 
play to the hungry ones. Next, we have the mice in the 
castle, and, finally, our boots. He who has been con- 
demned to eat beef-steaks in this coimtry, ought not to find 
boot-leather a tough diet." 

The forester interrupted them. " A single horseman is 
coming from the farm-yard to the castle with a woman 
behind him. I lay anything it is Rebecca." 

The horseman approached the front door waving a white 
handkerchief, halting near the burnt fragments of the great 



260 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



wagon, and looking at the windows of the upper storey. It 
was the envoy of the preceding day. 

" We will not be so unpolite as to keep the gentleman 
waiting," said Fink, pushing back the bolts, and appearing 
unarmed on the threshold. The Pole silently bowed ; Fink 
raised his cap. 

" I told you yesterday evening," began the former, " that 
I should have the pleasure of seeing you again." 

" Ah !" replied Fink ; " you, then, were the gentleman 
who occasioned us all that smoke 1 It was a pity to spoil 
the wagon." 

" You prevented your men from firing on me yesterday," 
continued the Pole in German, spoken with a hard foreign 
accent. " I am grateful to you for it, and anxious to 
prove myself so. I hear that there are ladies in the castle ; 
this girl brings them milk. We know that you are without 
water, and I should not wish the ladies to be inconvenienced 
by our conflict." 

" Jackanapes !" muttered the forester. 

" If you will permit me to give you a few bottles of 
wine in exchange for your milk," replied Fink, " I will 
accept your present with thanks. I presume that you 
have no superfluity of this commodity at your command." 

" Very good," said the Pole, smiling. Rebecca hurried 
with her pitcher to the yard gate, gave in the milk and 
received the wine from the gTowling forester. The Pole 
continued : " Even if you be weU supplied with wine, it 
cannot serve instead of water. Your garrison is numerous, 
and we hear that you have many women and children in 
the house." 

" I should consider it no hardship," replied Fink, 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



261 



" for these women and cliiklren to drink wine as well 
as we men, till you do us the favour which I yesterday 
requested, of leaving this estate and the brook yonder 
altogether." 

" Do not hope it, sir," said the Pole gravely ; " we shall 
employ all our strength*to disarm you ; we know now that 
you have no artillery, and it would be at any time in our 
power to force an entrance. But you have held out like 
brave men, and we do not wish to go further than is abso- 
lutely necessary." 

" Prudent and sensible," replied Fink. 

" Therefore I make you a proposal which need not offend 
your self-respect. You have no relief to hope for. Be- 
tween your soldiers and this village there is a strong body 
of our troops. A collision of both armies is expected in 
the course of the next few days, at no great distance from 
here, and your generals are, therefore, unable to detach any 
number of men, I am telling you no news, — you know 
this as well as I. Therefore I promise to you and to all 
within these walls, a safe-conduct, if you will give up the 
castle and your fire-arms. We are ready to escort you and 
the ladies in any direction that you may wish, as far as 
our occupation of the country extends." 

Fink replied more seriously than he had hitherto done, 
" May I ask who it is whose word of honour would be 
pledged to me ?" 

" Colonel Zlotowsky," replied the horseman with a slight 
bow. 

" Your ofter, sir," returned Fink, " demands our thanks. 
I have no doubt of its sincerity, and will assume that you 
have influence enough over your companions to carry it 



262 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



out. But as I am not the master of this house, I must 
communicate your proposal to him." 

" I will wait," replied the Pole, retreating to a distance 
of about thirty yards, and stopping opposite the door. 

Fink closed it, and said to Anton, " Let us go to the 
Baron at once. What should you think best V 

" To hold out," replied Anton. 

They found the Baron in his room, his head resting on 
his hands, his face distorted, a picture of distress and ner- 
vous agitation. Fink told him of the Pole's offer, and 
begged for his decision. 

The Baron replied, " I have perhaps suffered more 
hitherto than any of the brave men who have risked their 
lives in this house. It is a horrible feeling to be 
obliged to sit still, when honour summons one to the 
foremost ranks. But for this very reason I have no right 
to dictate to you. He who is incapable of fighting, has no 
right to decide when the fight shall cease. Nay, I have 
hardly a right to tell you my views, because I fear that 
they may influence your high-hearted minds. Besides 
which, unfortunately, I do not know the men who defend 
me ; I cannot judge of their mood, or of their strength. I 
confidently leave everything to you, and place the fate of 
my nearest and dearest in your hands. May Heaven re- 
ward you for what you do for me ! Yet not for me, for 
God's sake not for me — the sacrifice would be too great," 
cried he in utmost excitement, raising his folded hands and 
sightless eyes to heaven ; " think of nothing but the cause 
that we defend." 

" Since you repose so generous a trust in us," said Fink 
with chivalrous bearing, " we are resolved to hold your 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



263 



castle so long as we have the very least hope of relief. 
Meanwhile there are serious contingencies to be antici- 
pated ; our men may refuse to fight longer, or the enemy 
may force an entrance." 

" My wife and daughter beg, as I do also, that you will 
not consider them at a time like this. Go, gentlemen ! " 
cried the Baron with outstretched arms ; "the honour of an 
old soldier is in your hands." 

Both bowed low before the blind man, and left the room. 
" After all, there is honour in the man," said Fink, nodding 
as he went along. Then he opened the door and the ofl&cer 
rode up. 

" The Baron Rothsattel thanks you for your proposal ; 
but he is resolved to defend his house, and the property of 
those who have trusted to him, to the very utmost. We 
cannot accept your offer." 

" Take, then, the consequences," cried the oflScer, " and 
the responsibility of all that must ensue." 

" I will take the responsibility," said Fink ; " but I have 
still one request to make from you. Besides the wives and 
children of the country-people, there are two ladies in the 
castle, the wife and daughter of the Baron Rothsattel ; if an 
accident should enable you to occupy this house, I recom- 
mend these defenceless ones to the protection of your 
honour." 

"I am a Pole !" cried the officer, proudly rising in his 
stirrups. Then taking off his hat he galloped back to the 
farm-yard. 

" He looks a bold fellow," said Fink, turning to the men 
who had gathered round him from the guard-room ; " but, 
my friends, when one has the choice of trusting to an 



264 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



enemy's promises, or to this little iron barrel, I always think 
it best to rely upon what we have in our hand." 
He shook his rifle as he spoke. 

" The Pole promises safe-conduct," continued Fink, " be- 
cause he knows that in a couple of hours his band will be 
dispersed by our soldiers. We should be a good bite for 
him with our thirty guns. And then if our cavalry came, 
and instead of us, who sent for them, found the house full 
of that rabble yonder, they would send a rattling curse 
after us, and we should be disgraced for ever." 

" I wonder whether he meant fair V inquired one of the 
men doubtingly. 

Fink took him confidentially by the lappet of his coat. 
"I do believe, my boy, that he meant fair ; but I ask 
you how far one could calculate upon the discipline of 
those men? We should not get much beyond the wood 
yonder before another party would overtake us, and the 
women and our property would be maltreated before our 
eyes ; and so I calculate we shall do best to show them 
our teeth." 

Warm approbation followed this speech, and a few 
hurrahs were raised for the young gentlemen in the 
castle. 

" We thank you," said Fink ; " and now all of you to 
your posts, my men, for it may chance that you will get a 
few cracks on your heads again. That will keep them 
quiet for an hour or two," said he, turning to Anton. " I 
don't expect an attack by day, but it is better for them to 
stand at their posts, than to be putting their heads together. 
It was unlucky that they should have heard the negotia- 
tions." 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



265 



But even the severe discipline which Fink maintained, 
did not avail to ward off the depression which fell upon the 
little garrison as the day wore on. The Pole's proposal 
had been heard by many; even the women had in their 
curiosity opened their door, and pushed into the hall. 
Quietly, gradually fear began to take possession of the 
men's hearts, and, contagious as a disease, it spread from 
one to the other. It broke out, too, in the women's apart- 
ments. Suddenly some of them felt a great desire for 
water, complaining of thirst, first timidly, then louder, 
pressing against the ,door of the kitchen, and beginning to 
sob aloud. Not long after, all the children took to scream- 
ing for water, and many who under other circumstances 
would not have thought about drinking at all, now felt 
themselves unspeakably wretched. 

Anton had the last bottle of wine brought out of the 
cellar, cut the last loaf and soaked it in the wine, giving 
a piece to each, assuring them that it was the best remedy 
against thirst, and that if one held it in the mouth, he 
would be quite unable to drink water, even if paid for 
it. This expedient answered for a time, but terror found 
other avenues by which to enter. Many began to consider 
whether they would have lost anything in giving up an old 
gun, and gaining thereby their liberty, and the right to go 
where they would. This view of things was loudly combated 
by the forester, who placed himself in the midst of the guard- 
room, and resolutely replied : "I tell you, Gottlieb Fitzner, 
and you, you stout Bokel, that the giving away our guns 
would be a mere trifle to any of us ; the only thing is, that 
any one of you to whom this vile thought could occur, would 
be a low, mean, cowardly scoundrel, who would make me sick 



266 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



whenever I saw him." To which proposition Fitzner and 
Bokel eagerly acceded, and Bokel declared that, for his part, 
he could stand such a fellow just as little as the forester 
himself. So that danger was averted. But the unemployed 
sentinels were engaged in anxious conversation. The castle 
forces were contrasted with those of the enemy, and 
finally the slight nature of the palings in the yard became 
the leading object of a searching criticism. It was clear 
that the next attack would be directed against them, 
and the most stout-hearted admitted that they could offer 
little resistance. Even the faithful smith shook them with 
his strong hand, and by no means admired the manner in 
which they were nailed together. 

In the middle of the day these attacks of timidity 
were not actually dangerous, for the greatest portion 
of the men were waiting ready armed for the enemy's 
approach. But as the sun began to decline without any 
attack, and without the sentinels on the top of the tower 
announcing any prospect of relief, inactivity and exhaustion 
combined to increase the universal distress. Their dinner 
had been unsatisfying : potatoes burnt to a cinder, and a little 
salt ; no wonder that they should again begin to be thirsty, 
and that the women should return and complain to Anton 
that his expedient had only availed for a very short time. 
Among the men, too, fear, hunger, and thirst spread fast 
from one storey to another. Anton had served out a double 
ration of brandy, but that did not avail. Several of the 
men became, not rebellious, but weaker and more de- 
pressed. Fink looked with contemptuous smile at these 
symptoms of a condition of which his elastic spirit and iron 
nerves had no experience. But Anton, to whom all came 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



267 



with petitions and laments, felt the whole distress of these 
hours. Something must be done to help eflBiciently, or all 
was lost. Accordingly he went into the court-yard, deter- 
mined to sacrifice the cow. He walked up to her, stroked 
her neck : " Lizzie, my poor beast, you must go," said he. 
As he led her out, his eye fell upon the empty water-butt, 
and a happy thought flashed across him. The yard was 
only raised a few feet above the brook — the whole district 
was full of springs, it was probable that if dug for here, 
water might be found, and it would be an easy thing for 
the garrison to dig a well. If the earth excavated were 
pushed up against tlie palings, their strength would be con- 
siderably increased, and what was the chief thing, the work 
would set all idle hands going, and might last for hours, 
nay days. He knew, indeed, from former attempts, that the 
water immediately about the castle was muddy, and in ordi- 
nary times undrinkable, but that did not signify to-day. 
Anton looked up at the sun, there was not a minute to be 
lost. He called the superintendent into the court, and the 
latter joyfully agreeing to the proposal — all the unoccupied 
hands about the castle, and the women and children too — 
the labourers' implements were produced, and in a few 
minutes ten men with spades and rakes were occupied in 
digging a large hole in the middle of the court, while the 
women and children heaped the thrown-up earth against 
the palings. Some men, and such of the women as were 
still to be had, were summoned by Anton to the slaughter 
of the poor cow, who was once more exhibited before she 
fell a victim to the exigencies of the day. Soon all were in 
full employment. The well-mouth, which was far wider than 
would have been required for an ordinary shaft, deepened 



268 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



visibly, and a wall rose inside the jDalings, which seemed 
the work of friendly undergi'ound gnomes. The people 
worked as they had never in their life done before, the men's 
spades emulated each other, little bare legs sprang actively 
over the ground, wooden shoes and slippers left deep traces 
in the mound of earth. Each wanted to work, there were 
more hands than space in which to move them. All sad- 
ness and anxiety were over and gone. Jests were bandied 
about. Even Fink came to look on, and said to Anton, 
" You are a missionary, and you know how to promote 
the spiritual good of your people." 

"They work!" replied Anton with greater cheerfulness 
than he had felt for the last four-and-twenty hours. 

The well had now become so deep that it became necessary 
to have a ladder to descend by ; the ground got damper 
and damper, till the men worked in a perfect swamp. The 
mud had to be taken out in buckets; but the people were 
more eager than ever, and the buckets tiew from hand to 
hand, while all laughed like children at the mud-sprinkling 
their impatience got. The mud-wail rose rapidly above the 
palings, and wood and stones were flung in to consolidate it. 
Anton could hardly get the little doorway kept open. Mean- 
while, there was restless agitation among the enemy. Horse- 
men rode rapidly along the line of sentries, and watched the 
progress of the new fortification : from time to time, one 
would venture nearer than the rest, then withdraw as soon 
as the forester raised his gun above the wall. Thus hour 
after hour passed ; the sun sank dovm, and the red light of 
evening sufiused the sky. But those in the courtyard took 
no heed of it, for at the bottom of the well the men were 
standing up to their waists in water. It was a yellow, 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



269 



dirty liquid enough; but the people stared down the hole 
as though streams of gold were flowing there. At last, 
when the twilight shadows lay dark on its mouth, Anton 
ordered the diggers to leave the well. A coarse sheet was 
brought, and laid over the water-butt, and the water strained 
through it. 

" My horses first," cried one of the servants, snatching a 
bucketful for the thirsting animals. 

" When it has settled a little, it will be as good as river- 
water," exclaimed the smith in delight. 

As for the diggers, they were never tired of tasting ; and 
each triumphantly corroborated the worthy man's assertion. 
Meanwhile, Anton had fresh palings driven into the mud- 
rampart, and the strong planks of the potato-carts securely 
fastened to them. At night-fall all was finished. The 
women kept straining water into the butt. Great joints 
of meat were taken to the kitchen, where a brisk fire was 
crackling away ; and the cheerfid hopes of an excellent 
supper rose in the hearts of the besieged. 

Then the drums of the enemy were again heard, and 
the shrill call of Fink's whistle vibrated through the castle. 
For a moment the men in the courtyard stood still ; they 
had, during the last few hours, thought little about the 
foe. Then all rushed into the guard-room, and caught up 
their arms. The lower storey was doubly occupied. The 
forester hurried off with a strong detachment to the court- 
yard, and clambered up the new wall. 

" The crisis approaches," whispered Fink to Anton ; " in 
the course of the last few hours, strong parties have come 
into the village, and just now a troop of horsemen has 
joined them. We shall not be able to hold out for a 



270 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



second night. They will attack on both sides at once, and 
with the help of short ladders they will soon make their 
way into the castle. And that they know, for you may see 
that every band that leaves the village is armed with axes 
and ladders. Let us meet our inevitable doom with spirit : 
the praise is yours if we are beaten like men and not like 
cowards. I have been with the Baron ; he and the ladies 
are prepared ; they will all remain together in his room. 
If you have a few words to spare when one of the Messieurs 
of the party walks in over you, remind him of the ladies. 
God willing, Anton, I'll take the courtyard side — ^you the 
front." 

" It seems to me impossible," cried Anton, " that we 
should be beaten. I have never had so good a hope as in 
this very hour." 

" Hope of relief ! " said Fink, shrugging his shoulders, 
and pointing through the window at the enemy. " If it 
comes in an hour's time it comes too late. Since Rebecca's 
cannon exploded, we are in the hands of the foe as soon as 
they choose to storm in earnest. And they will choose ! 
One must not indulge in illusions that glow no longer than 
a cigar. Give me your hand, my dear fellow, and fare- 
well !" 

He pressed Anton's hand, and a proud smile beamed 
again over his face. So stood the friends, each looking 
affectionately at the face of the other, uncertain whether he 
should ever behold it again. " Farewell ! " cried Fink, 
taking up his rifle, as their hands parted ; but all at once 
he seemed rooted to the ground, and intently listened, for 
above the drums of the foe, and the tramp of their 
approach, a clear sound rang through the night air, a 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



271 



meny pealing fanfare^ and in reply to it there came from 
the village the regular beat of a drum of the line, then a 
loud discharge of artillery, and a distant hurrah. 

" They come ! " was the cry on all sides ; " our soldiers 
come !" 

The forester rushed into the hall. "The red-caps !" he 
screamed out. " They are riding up along the brook to 
the bridge, and the infantry are storming the village from 
behind !" 

" Now our side !" cried Fink ; " prepare for a sally !" 

The bolts were shot back ; the whole garrison was out 
in a moment ; and Anton could hardly get the superinten- 
dent and a few of the servants to return and take care of 
the house. The forester rapidly marshalled the men into 
order, while Fink looked at the position of the combatants. 
The columns of infantry advanced through the village. 
The ceaseless discharges showed how inveterate the fight 
was ; but the soldiery slowly approached, the enemy yield- 
ed, a few fugitives had already run out of the farm-yard. 
Meanwhile a detachment of hussars crossed the brook 
opposite the castle, driving small parties of the besiegers 
before them. Fink led his men round the house, and 
stationed them at the corner that lay nearest to the village. 
" Patience !" cried he ; " and when I lead you on, don't for- 
get your pass-word, or you will be ridden and trodden down 
in the dark like the others." 

It was with the greatest difficulty that the men were 
kept in rank, such was their impatience. 

A single horseman now came riding towards them. 
" Hurrah, Rothsattel ! " cried he, while still at a dis- 
tance. 



272 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



" Sturm !" called out a dozen voices ; and Anton 
sprang forward to greet his ally. 

" We have them," said Karl. " They had occupied the 
Rosmin high-road, but I led our men by by-paths through 
the woods." 

A dark mass was visible at the end of the village, with 
riders in advance. The enemy halted and assembled in 
the farm-yard. 

" Now for it ! " cried Fink. 

The garrison marched at a quick pace over the meadow, 
placed themselves sideways near the first barn, and a salvo 
from five-and-twenty guns burst upon the flank of the 
enemy, who fell into confusion and fled across the plain. 
Again the trumpet sounded, behind them the hussars came 
galloping up, and cut down those that still kept their 
ground. Karl joined them, and vanished in the fray 
The enemy were thus driven into the fields. 

The Polish cavalry now sprang forward from the village, 
at their head the spokesman of the morning, who wdth 
loud shouts urged his men against the hussars. 

" Rothsattel !" cried a youthful voice close to Anton, 
and heading a detachment of hussars ; a tall, slight oflScer 
rushed against the Poles. Fink raised his rifle and aimed 
at the Polish colonel. 

" Thanks !" cried he, reeling on his horse, firing his 
pistol with his last breath, at the breast of the hussar who 
was riding him down. The hussar fell from his horse, and the 
Pole's charger galloped away with his master's lifeless body. 

In a few minutes more the vicinity of the castle was 
cleared of all foes. Mght concealed the fugitives, and 
the trees of the forest spread their sheltering branches over 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



273 



the sons of the soil. In small detachments, the conquerors 
followed the last remnant of the enemy's troops. 

Before the castle, Anton knelt on the ground and sup- 
ported the head of the prostrate horseman on his arm. 
With tears in his eyes he looked from the dying man up 
to his friend, who stood on one side with a group of 
sympathizing officers. Their triumph was rendered a mute 
one ; the peasants surrounding the spot in solemn silence. 
The motionless form was slowly carried on their crossed 
hands to the castle. 

The Baron stood on the hall steps with his daughter, 
ready to greet the welcome guests. As soon as Lenore saw 
the wounded officer, she rushed down among the bearers, 
by whom the body was silently laid at the Baron's feet, 
and sank to the ground with a scream. 

" Who is it ?" groaned the blind man, groping in the 
air. No one answered him ; all drew back in terror. 

" Father !" murmured the wounded youth, and a stream 
of blood gushed from his mouth, 

" My son ! my son !" cried the Baron in agony, and his 
knees sank under him. 

The youth had left his garrison to join the troops, which 
were to be stationed near his parents. He had succeeded 
in exchanging into another regiment, and in accompanying 
the squadron sent to his father's assistance. He wished to 
give his parents a happy surprise, and, with the raising of 
the siege, he brought them his bleeding breast into their 
house, and death into their hearts. 

A mournful silence lay upon the high Slavonic castle. 
The storm had raged itself to rest ; the white blossoms floated 
silently down from the great fruit-trees in the fields, and 

VOL. II. s 



274 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



lay pure and spotless on the ground like a white shroud. 
Where are ye, airy schemes of the blind man, which he has so 
striven, suffered, and sinned to realize 1 Listen, poor father ; 
hold your breath and listen. All is still in the castle, still 
in the forest, and yet you cannot hear the one sound of 
which you ever thought amidst your parchments and your 
plans, — the heart-throb of your only son, the first heir of 
the house of Rothsattel !" 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



275 



CHAPTER XII 



T\AYS of sorrow now passed over the castle, hard to 
endure by every one who dwelt within its walls. 
Disease lurked in the family like canker in a flower. 
Since the dark hour when the dying son had been carried 
into his father's presence, the Baron had never left his 
room. His small measure of remaining strength had been 
broken ; grief consumed mind and body. He would sit 
silently brooding throughout the livelong day, and neither 
the entreaties of Lenore nor the companionship of his wife 
availed to rouse him. Wlien the fatal tidings were first 
communicated to the Baroness, Anton had feared that the 
fragile thread that bound her to the earth would burst, and 
for weeks Lenore never left her side. But to the astonish- 
ment of all she rallied ; her husband's state so claiming her 
care, that her own sorrows and weakness seemed to pass 
away. She appeared stronger than before, and solely 
occupied with tending her husband — she was able to sit up 
for hours beside his chair. It is true that the doctor used 
to shake his head privately, and to tell Anton that this 
sudden improvement was not to be tmsted. As for Lenore, 
for the first few weeks after her brother's death, she was 
invisible to all ; and now, whenever she emerged from the 



276 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



sick-room, it was but to answer inquiries for the invalids, 
or to send, through Anton, messages to the doctor. 

Meanwhile, beyond the walls, a stormy spring had 
passed, succeeded by an unsettled summer. True, the 
property had no longer to dread the horrors of civil war, 
but the burdens that the times imposed fell heavy on the 
establishment. Daily the blast of trumpet and beat of drum 
were heard — castle and village alike had their complement 
of soldiers to support, and these were frequently exchanged. 
Anton had enough to do to provide for man and horse. 
The slender resources of the estate itself were soon exhausted, 
and but for Fink's labourers, they never could have got on. 
Then there were all manner of interruptions to the work of 
the farm. More than one acre had been trodden down at 
the time of the siege. The men had become bewildered 
by passing events, and had lost their relish for regular 
employment. But, on the whole, order was maintained, 
and the plans laid down early in the spring were being 
carried out. The irrigation of the meadow-land prospered 
still better ; the number of grey jackets went on increasing; 
and this body-guard of Herr von Fink were acknowledged 
throughout the district as a stout set, with whom it was 
well to be on good terms. Fink himself was often away ; 
having made and renewed the acquaintance of several 
officers, he threw himself heart and soul into military 
matters, and shared as a volunteer in the encounter in 
which the insurgents had been defeated. His defence of 
the castle had made him a marked man : he was equally 
hated and admired by the two conflicting parties. 

Weeks had passed away since the relief of the castle, 
when Lenore appeared at the house-door, before which 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



277 



Anton and the forester were holding a consultation. She 
looked across the court-yard, where a pump now stood, and 
over the palings from which the earth had been cleared 
away, to the landscape, now bright with the fresh green 
of early summer. At last she said with a sigh, " Summer 
is come, Wohlfart, and we have not noticed it !" 

Anton looked anxiously at her pale face. " It is delight- 
ful now in the woods," said he. " I was at the forester's 
yesterday, and since the rain, the trees and flowers are in 
full beauty. If you would but agree to go out ! " 

Lenore shook her 'head. "What do / signify?" said 
she bitterly. 

" At least hear the news which the forester has just 
brought," continued Anton. " The man you shot was the 
wretched Bratzky. You did not kill him. If you have 
reproached yourself on that score, ^ I can set your mind at 
rest." 

"God be praised !" cried Lenore, folding her hands. 

" That night when the forester came to us, he thought he 
had seen the rascal sitting in the bar with his arm tied up. 
Yesterday he was taken prisoner to Rosmin." 

" Ay !" said the forester ; "a bullet does a fellow like 
him no harm, he aims higher than that." And he laid his 
own hand on his throat with a significant gesture. 

"This has weighed on me day and night," whispered 
Lenore to Anton ; " I have looked on myself as one under 
a curse. I have had the most fearful dreams and visions 
of the man as he fell, hands clenched, and the blood gush- 
ing from his shoulder. Oh, Wohlfart, what we have gone 
through !" And she leaned against the door, and fixed 
her tearless eyes on the ground. 



278 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



A horse's hoof rung on the pavement. Fink's bay was 
led out. 

"Where is he going?" hurriedly asked Lenore. 

" I do not know," replied Anton ; " he has been a great 
deal out of late ; I see nothing of him the whole day long." 

" What is he doing here with us 1 " said Lenore ; this 
unhappy house is no place for him." 

" If he would only be careful," said the forester. " The 
Tarow people are mad at him ; they have sworn to send 
a bullet after him, and he always rides alone, and late at 
night." 

"It is in vain to warn him," added Anton. "Do be 
rational for once, Fritz," cried he, as his friend came out ; 
" do not go riding alone, or at least, not through the Tarow 
estate." 

Fink shrugged his shoulders. " Ah ! so our Fraulein 
is here ! It is so long since we have had the pleasure of 
seeing you, that our time has hung rather heavy on our 
hands." 

" Listen to the advice of your friends," replied Lenore 
anxiously ; " and beware of dangerous men." 

"AVliyf returned Fink; "there is no straight-forward 
danger to apprehend ; and in times like these, there is no 
guarding against every stupid devil who may lurk behind 
a tree ; that woidd be taking too much trouble." 

" If not for your own sake, think of the anxiety of your 
friends!" implored Lenore. 

"Have I still friends?" asked Fink, laughing; "I 
often fancy they have become faithless. My friends belong 
to the class who perfectly understand the duty of com- 
posure. Our worthy Wohlfart, perchance, will put an 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



279 



extra handkerchief in his pocket, and wear his most solemn 
mien if the game goes against me ; and another companion 
in arms will console herself still more readily. Out with 
my horse !" cried he, swinging himself on the saddle, and 
with a slight bow, galloping away. 

"There he goes, straight to Tarow," said the forester, 
shaking his head as he watched Fink disappear. 

Lenore returned in silence to her parents' room. 

But late at night, long after the castle lights were all put 
out, a curtain was drawn back, and a woman listened 
anxiously for the sound of horses' hoofs. Hour after hour 
passed away, and it was morning before the window closed, 
as a rider halted at the door, and, whistling a tune, himself 
took his horse to the stable. After a night of watching, 
Lenore hid her aching head in her pillows. 

Thus months passed away. At length the Baron, lean- 
ing upon his daughter's arm, and on a staff, ventured out 
into the open air — to sit silently in the shadow cast by the 
castle w^alls, or to listen for every trifle wdiich might afford 
possible scope for fault-finding. At these times, his de- 
pendants in general would go a good deal out of their way 
to avoid him, and as Anton never did this, he was not un- 
frequently their scape-goat. Every day the Baron had to 
hear, in return for his cross-questioning, "Mr, Wohlfart 
ordered this," or "Mr. Wohlfart forbade that." He eagerly 
found out what orders were given by Anton, that he might 
countermand; and all the bitterness and disappointment 
accummulated in the spirit of the unfortimate nobleman, 
were concentrated in an impotent hatred to his agent. 

Fink, for his part, took little heed of the Baron, merely 
contracting his brows when he observed his quarrelsomeness 



280 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



towards Anton, and never saying more than, " He cannot 
help it." 

Karl was the one who got on best with the Baron, 
never calling him anything but Captain, and making an 
audible military salute whenever he had anything to say, 
and this pleased the blind man. Indeed, the first token 
of sympathy for others, which the Baron evinced, was eli- 
cited by the bailiff. A garden chair had been warped by 
the sun, and seemed on the point of coming to pieces. Karl, 
as he passed by, took it up, and with his clenched fist, ham- 
mered it together. " You are not striking with your right 
hand, I hope, my good Sturm ?" inquired the Baron. 

" Just as it happens. Captain," replied Karl. 

" You should not do so," remonstrated the invalid. " An 
injury like yours should make you careful; veiy often the 
pain returns after long years ; you cannot be sure that this 
may not be your case in after-life." 

" A short life and a merry one. Captain," replied Karl ; 
"I do not look forward." 

" That is a very useful fellow," said the Baron to his 
daughter. 

The corn ripened, the gTeen fields turned to gold, the 
cheerful sounds of harvest began. When the first loaded 
T\^agon rolled into the farm-yard, Anton stood by the barn 
and watched the sheaves put in. He was joined by Lenore, 
who inquired, "What of the harvest 1" 

" As far as we could contrive to sow this year, the returns 
have not been bad. At least, Karl seems pleased with the 
crop, which exceeds our calculations," cheerfully returned 
Anton. 

" Then you have one pleasure, Wohlfart," said Lenore. 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



281 



" It is a pleasure for all on the farm ; look at the steady 
activity of the men. Even the idle work well to-day. But 
what pleases me most is your question ; you have been so 
estranged from the farm, and all that concerns the pro- 
perty." 

" Not from you, m^y friend," said Lenore, looking down. 

"You must be ill!" eagerly continued Anton. " If I 
dared, I could scold you for having thought so little about 
your own health all this time ; your pony has become 
quite stiff. Karl has often been obliged to use it, that it 
might not lose the use of its limbs." 

" It may go like the rest !" cried Lenore ; " I shall never 
mount it again. Have pity upon me, Wohlfart ! I often 
feel as if I should lose my senses ; everything in the 
world has become indifferent to me." 

"Why so savage, Fraulein ?" said a mocking voice be- 
hind her. Lenore started, and turned round. Fink, who 
had been absent more than a week, had joined them. 
" See that you send off Blasius," said he to Anton, with- 
out taking any further notice of Lenore. " The rascal has 
been drunk again ; he flogs the horses till the poor beasts 
are covered with wales. I have a great mind to give 
them the satisfaction of seeing him punished before their 
eyes." 

" Have patience till after the harvest," replied Anton ; 
" we cannot spare him now." 

" Is he not a good-natured man in other respects T 
timidly suggested Lenore. 

" Good-nature is a convenient name for everything that 
is morbid," replied Fink. "We call it good-nature in men, 
and sensibility in women." He looked at Lenore. " How 



282 



DEBIT AND CEEDIT. 



has the poor pony sinned that you will never ride him 
more ?" 

Lenore blushed as she replied, " I find that riding giv^es 
me headache." 

" Indeed ! " said Fink tauntingly ; " you once had tlie 
advantage of being less delicate. I do not think this 
lachrymose mood is suitable for you ; you -svill not lose yom* 
headache thus." 

Lenore, quite subdued, turned to Anton, " Have the 
newspapers arrived 1 I came to ask for them for my 
father." 

"The footman has taken them to the Baroness's room." 

Lenore turned away with a slight inclination, and went 
back to the castle. 

Fink looked after her and said to Anton, " Black does 
not become her ; she is much faded. Hers is one of 
those faces which only please when they are full and 
blooming." 

Anton cast a dark glance at his friend. " Your beha- 
viour towards her has been so strange for the last few weeks, 
that I have often felt indignant at it. I do not know what 
your purpose may be, but you treat her with a nonchalance 
which does not offend her alone." 

"But you, too, Master Wohlfart, eh?" asked Fink, 
looking Anton full in the face. " I was not aware that 
you were this lady's duenna too." 

" This tone will not avail you," replied Anton, more 
quietly. " I do right to remind you that you are be- 
having worse than ungently towards a noble creature who 
has now a double claim upon the tender consideration of 
us all." 



DEBIT AND CEEDIT. 



283 



" Be good enough to pay her that consideration yourself, 
and don't trouble yourself about me and my manner," 
returned Fink, dryly. 

" Fritz," cried Anton, " I do not understand yon I It is 
true you are inconsiderate." — 

" Have you found me so V interpolated Fink. 

" No !" replied Anton. " Whatever you have been to 
others, to me you have always shown yourself generous and 
sympathizing ; but for this very reason it pains me inex- 
pressibly that you should have thus changed towards 
Lenore." 

" Leave that to me," returned Fink ; " every one has his 
own way of taming birds. Let me just add, that if your 
Fraulein Lenore be not soon shaken out of this sickly 
way of life, she will be utterly ruined. The pony alone will 
not do it, I know ; but you, my son, and your melancholy 
sympathy won't do it either ; and so we will just let 
things take their course. I am gomg to Rosmin to-day ; 
have you any commands '?" 

This conversation, although it led to no estrangement 
between the friends, was never forgotten by Anton, who 
silently resented Fink's dictatorial tone, and anxiously 
watched his bearing towards Lenore, whom Fink neither 
sought nor avoided, but simply treated as a stranger. 

Anton himself had some unpleasant experiences to go 
through. Much as he avoided communicating what was 
unwelcome to the Baron, there was one thing he could no 
longer spare him, and that was the settlement of his son's 
debts. Soon after Eugene's death, numberless letters, 
with bills enclosed, had arrived at the castle, been given 
by Lenore to Anton, and then by him all made over, Sturm's 



284 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



note-of-hand included, to Councillor Horn, whose opinion 
and advice he craved to have respecting them. This 
opinion had now arrived. The lawyer did not disguise 
that the note-of-hand given by young Rothsattel to the 
porter was so informal, that it amounted to nothing more 
than a mere receipt, and did not in any way bind the 
Baron to pay tlie debt. Indeed, the sum was so great, that 
immediate payment was out of the question. Then Anton 
himself had lent the young prodigal more than eight hun- 
dred dollars. As he drew out Eugene's note-of-hand from 
among his papers, he looked long at the handwriting of the 
dead. That was the sum by Avhich his imprudence had 
purchased a share in the fate of this noble family ! And 
what had this purchase brought him ? He had then thought 
it a fine thing to help his aristocratic friend out of his 
embarrassments ; now, he saw that he had only abetted his 
downward course. He gloomily locked up his own note- 
of-hand in his desk again, and with a heavy heart prepared 
for a conversation with the Baron. 

At the first mention of his son, the Baron fell into a state 
of painful excitement ; and when Anton, in the flow of his 
narrative, chanced to call the departed by his Christian 
name, the father's pent-up anger found a vent. He inter- 
rupted Anton by sharply saying, " I forbid you to use that 
familiar appellation in speaking of my son. Living or dead, 
he is still Herr von Rothsattel as far as you are concerned." 
Anton replied with great self-command, " Herr Eugene 
von Rothsattel had contracted debts to the amount of about 
four thousand dollars." 

" That is impossible !" broke in the Baron. 

" The accredited copies of notes-of-hand and bills of 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



285 



exchange which Councillor Horn has procured, place the 
matter beyond doubt. With regard to the largest debt, 
one of nineteen hundred dollars, the certainty is the more 
complete, as the lender, the father of the bailiff Sturm, 
happens to be a man of peculiar uprightness. A letter to 
me from the departed expressly acknowledges this obliga- 
tion." 

" Then you knew of this debt," cried the Baron with in- 
creasing anger ; and you have kept it back from me ! Is 
this your much-vaunted fidelity ?" 

It was in vain that Anton sought to explain the cir- 
cumstances of the case. The Baron had lost all self- 
control. " I have long ago found out," said he, " how 
self-willed your whole line of conduct is. You take 
advantage of my situation, to get the disposition of all 
my means ; you make debts, you allow debts to be made, 
you draw money, you charge it to my account, just as you 
see fit." 

" Say no more, Baron," cried Anton. " It is only com- 
passion for your helplessness, which, at this moment, pre- 
vents me from answering you as you deserve. How great 
that compassion is, you may infer from the fact, that I 
will endeavour to forget your words, and still ask you for 
your decision ; will you, or will you not, acknowledge your 
late son's debts, and give legal security to the porter Sturm, 
or to his son, your bailift'?" 

"I will, do nothing," cried the Baron, beside himself, 
" that you require of me in so peremptory and pretentious 
a tone." 

" Then it is useless to speak to you any longer. I im- 
plore you. Baron, to re-consider the affair before you pro- 



286 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



nouuce your final decision. I shall have the honour of 
receiving your ultimatum this evening, and I hope that 
ere then, your sense of honour will have triumphed over a 
mood to which I should not wish, a second time, to expose 
myself." 

With these words he left, and heard the poor Baron 
upsetting chairs and tables in his wrath. Scarcely had he 
reached his room, when the confidential servant appeared, 
and asked for the deeds and account-books, which had 
hitherto been kept in Anton's room. Silently the latter 
made them over to the affrighted domestic. 

He was dismissed then ; rudely and summarily dismissed ; 
his uprightness questioned — this breach was final. It was 
a bitter hour. Even now, while indignantly pacing up and 
down, he felt that this insult ofi'ered him was a punishment. 
True, his aim had been pure, and his actions blameless ; 
but the enthusiastic feelings which had led Mm hither, had 
not availed to establish proper relations between him and 
the Baron — those of emi)loyer and employed. It was not 
the free-will, the rational choice of both, that had brought 
them together, but the pressure of mysterious circum- 
stances, and his own youthful romance. And thus he 
had claims beyond what his situation gave him, and by 
these the Baron was oppressed and cumbered. 

These reflections were intermpted by Leuore's sudden 
entrance. " My mother wishes to speak to you," she cried. 
"What will you do, Wohlfart V 

" I must go," said Anton gravely. " To leave you thus, 
with your future so uncertain, is what I never could have 
believed possible. There was but one thing which could 
have induced me to part from you, before I had made over 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



287 



the property into stronger hands. And this one thing is 
come to pass." 

"Go!" cried Lenore in utmost excitement. "All is 
crumbling around us, there is no help to be looked for, even 
you cannot save us ; go, and free your life from that of our 
sinking family ! " 

When Anton joined the Baroness, he found her lying on 
the sofa. " Sit down beside me, Mr. Wohlfart," whispered 
she. " The hour is come in which I must impart, what, to 
spare myself, I have reserved for the hour when we speak 
most openly to each other — the last hour spent together. 
The Baron's illness has so affected him, that he no longer 
appreciates your faithful help ; nay, your presence aggra- 
vates his unhappy state. He has so hurt your feelings, that 
reconciliation is become impossible. Even could you forget, 
we should consider the sacrifice you would be making far 
too great." 

" I purpose leaving the property on an early day," replied 
Anton. 

" I cannot," continued the Baroness, " atone for my hus- 
band's offences towards you ; but I wish to give you an 
opportunity of revenging yourself in a manner worthy of 
you. The Baron has attacked your honour ; the revenge 
that I, his wife, offer you, is to assist him to retrieve his 
own." 

Hitherto the Baroness had spoken fluently, as was her 
wont in society ; now she stopped, and seemed to lack 
words. 

" Years ago," she said, " he pledged his word of honour, 
and — and broke it in a moment of desperation. The proof 
of tliis is probably in the hands of some low man, who will 



288 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



use this knowledge to ruin him. That I should communi- 
cate this to you, at a time like this, will show you the light 
in which I regard your connexion with our house. If it be 
possible to restore his peace of mind, you, I know, will do 
it." She drew a letter from under the pillow, and placed 
it in Anton's hand. 

Anton took it to the window, and saw with surjorise 
that it was in Ehrenthal's handwriting. He had to read 
it twice before he could master its contents. In a lucid 
interval the imbecile had happened to recall his former 
dealings with the nobleman ; and wrote to remind him 
of the stolen notes-of-hand, to demand his money, and to 
threaten the Baron. The letter was full, besides, of laments 
over his own weakness, and the wickedness of others; and 
what its confusion left unexplained, was cleared up by the 
copy of a note-of-hand — probably from the draught of one 
agreed upon by the Baron and Ehrenthal, for the letter 
mentioned the existence of the original, and threatened to 
use it against the Baron. 

Folding up the letter, Anton said, " The threats which 
Ehrenthal connects with the copy enclosed need not disturb 
you. Baroness ; for the note-of-hand seems to have no sig- 
nature, and the sum which it represents is a small one." 

"And do you believe that it is a true statement ?" asked 
the Baroness. 

"I do," was the reply. "This letter explains to me 
much that hitherto I never could understand." 

" I know that it is true," whispered the Baroness in so 
low a voice that Anton scarcely heard it, while a faint 
blush overspread her face. " And you, Mr. Wohlfart, will 
you endeavour to get back the stolen papers for us ?" 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



280 



" I will," replied Anton earnestly. " But iny hopes are 
small. The Baron has no existing claim upon these miss- 
ing documents. They belong to Ehrenthal; and an under- 
standing with him is necessary in the first instance. It 
will be difficult to bring about. And again, I very im- 
perfectly understand the circumstances, and must request 
you to try and inform me of all you can connected with 
the robbery." 

" I will endeavour to write to you," said the Baroness. 
" You can draw up a list of the questions you wish answered, 
and I will do so as well as I can. Whatever may be the 
result of your efforts, I now thank you with all my soul. 
Our house will never jmy the debt it owes you. If tho. 
blessing of a dying woman can shed a brightness over your 
future, take it with you on your way." 

Anton rose. 

" We shall not meet again," said the invalid ; " this is 
our final leave-taking. Farewell, Wohlfart ! this is the last 
time I shall see you on earth!" She held out her hand. 
He bent over it ; and, deeply moved, quitted the room. 

Yes, she deserved to be called a noble lady. Her nature 
was noble, her insight into the character of others clear, 
and her mode of recompensmg Anton's zeal dignified — very 
dignified ! In her eyes at least, he had always worn a 
powdered wig and silver knee-buckles ! 

In the evening. Fink's step was heard in the corridor, 
and entering Anton's room, he cried, " Hallo, Anton, whafs 
up now? John slinks about as if he had broken the great 
china vase ; and when old Babette saw me, she began to 
wring her hands." 

" I must leave this house, my friend," returned Anton 

VOL. II. T 



290 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



gloomily. " I have had a painful scene with the Baron 
to-day." He then proceeded to relate it, and concluded by 
saying, " The position of this family was never so desperate 
as now. They need the command of twenty thousand 
dollars, to avert new misfortunes." 

Fink threw himself into a chair. " First of all," said 
he, " I hope you availed yourself as little as possible of this 
fine opportunity of being angry. We won't waste words 
over the scene ; the Baron is not accountable ; and between 
ourselves, I am not surprised. I have seen all summer 
that you could not retain your romantic connexion with 
this family. On the other hand, it is plain that you are 
indispensable as father-confessor to tlie ladies, and con- 
fidential man of business to all the people around. And 
I need not tell you, that your sudden departure cuts up 
many a plan of mine. But now for the question : What 
will you do?" 

" I shall return as soon as possible to our own capital," 
replied Anton. " There I shall be engaged for some time 
in the interest of the Rothsattels. My official relations to 
them cease from this very day, and as soon as the Baron's 
family estate is sold, I shall consider my moral obligations 
to them cancelled." 

" Good !" said Fink ; " that's all right. If you ever set 
pen to paper again on their behalf, it can only be from a 
sense of compassion. Another point is that Rothsattel has 
brought a curse upon himself by his folly ; for without you 
things can't go on as they do for another month. Now, 
then, Master Anton, comes the question, what will be 
done here ?" 

" I have thought of that the whole day," retui'ned Anton ; 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



291 



" and I do not know. There is only one possible plan, and 
that is, that you should undertake that part of my office 
which Karl cannot fill." 

" Thank you," said Fink, " both for your good opinion 
and your friendly offer. You have been, excuse me, a 
good-natured fool. I am not of that stamp. In a week's 
time I should be under the unpleasant necessity of mal- 
treating the Baron. Have you no other plan to pro- 
pose V 

" None !" cried Anton. " If you do not with all your 
heart and soul undertake the management of the property, 
all that we have effected during the last year wiU be 
undone, and our German colony will go to ruin." 

" It will," said Fink. 

" And you, Fritz," continued Anton, " have, through 
your intimacy with me, become involved in its fate, and are 
thus in danger of losing too." 

" Spoken like a book !" said Fink. " You run off and 
leave me here tied and bound. I'll tell you what — wait 
for me here ; I will first of all speak a few words to 
Lenore." 

"What are you going to do?" cried Anton, holding 
him fast. 

"Not to make love !" replied Fink, laughing. "You 
may rely upon that, my boy !" He rang the bell, and 
requested an interview with Fraulein Lenore in the draw- 
ing-room. 

\^Tien Lenore entered with eyes red from weeping, and 
only maintaining her composure by a strong effort, he 
politely advanced and led her to the sofa. 

" I abstain from commenting upon what has passed to- 



202 



DEBIT A>'D CiiEDlT. 



day," began he. " We will assume that my friend's presence 
in the capital will be more desirable for your family interests 
than his stay here. From all I hear, this is really the 
case. Wohlfart leaves the day after to-morrow." 
Lenore hid her face in her hands. 

Fink coldly continued : Meanwhile my own interests 
require that I should attend to them. I have spent several 
months here, and acquired a share in this estate. For this 
reason, I request you to be the bearer of a message from 
me to your father : I am prepared to purchase this estate 
from the Baron." 

Lenore started and rose up, wringing her hands, and 
exclaiming, "For the second time!" 

" Be kind enough quietly to hear me," continued Fink. 
" I by no means intend to jjlay towards the Baron the part 
of angel of deliverance. I have less of the angelic nature 
about me than our patient Anton, and feel in no way 
inclined to make any offer to your father that will not 
advance my own interest. Let us look upon each other as 
opponents, and my proposal, as it really is, prompted by self- 
love. My offer then is as follows : The price of this estate, 
if reckoned at a sum that would secure the Baron from loss, 
would amount to more than a hundred and sixty thousand 
dollars. I offer him the outside of what I consider its 
present worth — that is, I will accept all its liabilities, and 
pay the Baron twenty thousand dollars, in the course of 
twenty-four hours. Till next Easter, I should wish to leave 
the castle in your hands, and to remain here as your guest, 
if this could be arranged without inconvenience. In point 
of fact, I should generally be absent, and in no way burden- 
some to.jou." 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



293 



Lenore looked wistfully in his face, which was at this 
moment hard as that of a genuine Yankee ; the remnant of 
her composure gave way, and she burst into tears. 

Fink quietly leant back in his chair, and, without heed- 
ing her, continued : You see I ofi'er you a loss, probably 
that of half your inheritance. The Baron has been so 
precipitate in investing his capital in this property, that his 
family must needs suffer ; for tlie market-price of it, in its 
present state, would assuredly not exceed my offer. I 
should be acting dishonourably if I disguised from you, 
that, properly cultivated, it would probably be worth twice 
as much in a few years' time, but not, I am firmly con- 
vinced, under the Baron's management. Had Anton re- 
mained, it might have been possible, but that hope is over. 
I will not conceal from you either, that Wohlfart has even 
proposed to me to occupy his situation." 

Lenore, in the midst of her sobs, here made a depreca- 
ting gesture. 

" I am glad," continued Fink, " that we are of the same 
mind on that subject, I considered the proposal quite out 
of place, and rejected it at once." He then stopped and 
looked searchingly at the girl before him, whose heart was 
torn by his words. He spoke harshly to her, he for whose 
smile, whose kindly glance, she would have done anything. 
He mentioned her father with ill -concealed contempt, 
his language was that of a hard egotist ; and yet his ofier 
seemed a blessing in her helpless condition, and with 
the second-sight of a loving heart, she divined a meaning 
in it that she did not indeed fully understand, but which 
shone into her abyss of sorrow like a distant ray of hope. 
However he might phrase it, this offer proceeded from no 



294 



DEBIT AND CliEDlT. 



ordinary motives ; and her convulsive sobs giving way to 
tj[uiet tears, she tried to rise from the sofa, but sank to the 
floor near his chair, the very picture of sorrowful submis- 
sion. " You do not deceive me," murmured she ; " do 
with us what you will." 

A proud smile passed over Fink's face as he bent over 
her, wound his arm round her head, pressed a kiss on her 
hair, and said, " My comrade, I will that you should be 
free." Lenore's head fell on his breast ; she wept, softly 
supported by his arm ; at last taking her hand, he jjressed 
it tenderly. " Henceforth let us understand each other. 
You shall be free, Lenore, both as regards me and all 
others. You are losing one who has shown you the self- 
sacrificing tenderness of a brother, and I am glad that he 
is leaving you. I do not yet ask you whether you will 
share my fate as my wife, for you are not now free to 
answer as your heart dictates. Your pride shall not say 
me nay, and your ' yes' shall not lessen your self-respect. 
When the curse that lies on your house is done away with, 
and you are free to remain with or leave me, your decision 
shall be made. Till then, an honourable friendship, comrade 
mine ! " 

And now Fink went on in another voice : " Let us 
think of nothing but our property ; dry up those tears, 
which I am not fond of seeing in your blue eyes ; and 
impart the business-half of my proposal to your father and 
mother. If not before, I request an answer by this time 
to-morrow." 

Lenore went to the door, then returned, and silently 
offered him her hand. 

Slowly Fink returned to his friend's room. " Do you 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



295 



remember, Anton," asked he, " what you told me of your 
patriotism the day of my arrival here f 

" We have often spoken on the subject since then." 

" It made an impression on me," continued Fink. " This 
property shall not fall again under a Bratzky's sceptre. I 
shall buy it if the Baron consents." 

Anton started. "And Lenore ?" 

" She will share her parents' fate ; we have just settled 
that." He then told his friend the offer he had made. 

" Now I hope that all will end well," cried Anton. "We 
shall see." 

" What a purgatory for the sinner up-stairs ! I am glad 
I don't hear his groans !" said Fink. 

The following morning the servant brought each of the 
friends a letter from the Baron's room ; the one of apology 
and thanks to Anton, the other of acceptance to Fink. 
These they read, and then silently exchanged. 

" So the matter is settled," cried Fink at length. " I 
have run half over the world, and everywhere found some- 
thing to object to; and now I bury myself in this sand- 
hole, where I must kindle a nightly fire to scare the Polish 
wolf. As for you, Anton, raise your head and look before 
you, for if I have found a home, you are going back to where 
the best part of your heart is. And so, my boy, let's go 
over your instructions once more. Your first commission 
is to find certain stolen papers. Think, too, of the second. 
Do what you can to secure to the family the little they 
have saved in this quarter, and see that their old estate, 
when sold by auction, is bid up to a price that will 
cover all mortgages. You must go, I see, and I do not 
ask you to remain at present, but you know that, under 



296 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



all circumstances, iny home is yours. And now, one thing 
more. I should be sony to lose the bailiff ; employ your 
eloquence to induce your trusty Sancho to remain here, at 
least over the winter." 

" No one knows, as yet, that I am leaving," replied 
Anton ; " he must be the first to hear it. I am going to 
him." 

The dirty dwelling, which Bratzky once occupied, 
had changed, under Karl's management, to a comfortable 
abode, which had only one drawback, that of being too full 
of useful things, and smelling strongly of glue. Often and 
often Anton had sat in it to rest and refresh himself by 
Karl's cheery ways ; and as he glanced at each familiar 
object, his heart sank at the prospect of leaving his faith- 
ful, unexacting ally. Leaning against the joiner's table in 
the window, he said, " Put your accounts by, Karl, and let 
us have a serious word or two." 

" Now for it," cried Karl; "something has been brewing 
for a long while, and I see by your face that the crisis is 
come." 

" I am going away, my friend." 

Karl let his pen fall, and silently stared at the grave 
face opposite him. 

" Fink undertakes the management of the property which 
he has just bought." 

" Hurrah !" cried Karl ; "if Herr von Fink be the man, 
why, all's right ! I give you joy, with all my heart," 
said he, shaking Anton's hand, "that things have turned 
out thus. In the spring I had other foolish notions. But 
it's all regular and right now, and our farming is safe too." 

" I hope so," said Anton, smiling. 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



297 



" But you ?" continued Karl, his face growing suddenly 
grave. 

" I go back to our capital, where I have some business 
to do for the Baron, and then I shall look out for a stool 
in an office." 

" And here we have worked together for a year," said 
Karl sadly ; " you have had all the pains, and another 
will have the profits." 

" I go back to my proper place. But it is of your future, 
not mine, dear Karl, that I am now come to speak." 

" Of course I go bcick with you," cried Karl. 

" I come to implore you not to do so. Could we set up 
together, we would never part ; but I am not in a position 
for this. I must seek another situation. Part of the little 
I possessed is gone ; I leave no richer than I canie ; so we 
should have to separate when we got home." 

Karl looked down and meditated. " Mr. Anton," said 
he, " I hardly dare to speak of what I do not understand. 
You have often told me that my old governor is an owl 
who sits on money-bags. How would it do," stammered 
he in embarrassment, working away at the chair with one 
of his tools, " that if what is in the iron chest be not too 
little for you, you should take it ; and if anything can be 
made of it — it is very presumptuous of me — perhaps I 
might be useful to you as a partner. It is only an idea, 
and you must not be offended." 

Anton, much moved, replied : " Look you, Karl, your 
offer is just like your generous self, but I should do wrong 
to accept it. The money is your father's ; and even if he 
gave his consent, as I believe he would, such a plan would 
involve great risk. At all events, his substance would be 



298 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



better invested in your own calling, than in one you might 
enter into out of love for me. So it is better for you, my 
friend, that we part." 

Karl snatched his pocket-handkerchief, and blew his 
nose violently before he asked : " And you won't make 
use of the money ? You would be sure to give us good 
interest 

" Impossible !" replied Anton. 

" Then I'll go back to my father, and hide my head in 
some hay-loft about home," cried Karl in high dudgeon. 

" That you must not do," said Anton. " You have be- 
come better acquainted with the property than any other ; 
it were a sin to tlirow that knowledge away. Fink wants 
a man like you ; the farm cannot possibly spare you till next 
summer. When we came here, it was not to benefit our- 
selves, but to improve the land. My work is over, you are 
in the midst of yours, and you will sin against yourself 
and your task if you forsake it now." 

Karl hung his head. 

" One thing that used to distress me, was the meagre 
salary that the estate could afford you ; — that will be 
changed now." 

" Don't let us speak of that," said Karl proudly. 

" We ought to speak of it," returned Anton ; " for a 
man does wrong when he devotes the best gifts he has, to 
an occupation that does not adequately repay him. 'Tis an 
unnatural life ; and good results can scarcely be expected, 
take my word for that. I therefore beg you to remain, at 
least till next summer, when, owing to the extended scale 
of farming operations, an experienced inspector may occupy 
your post." 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



299 



"Then," said Karl, "may I go ?" 

" Fink would always like to keep you, but should you 
leave him, remember, Karl, our frequent conversations 
during the past year. You have become accustomed to a 
life among strangers, and have all a colonist's claims to a 
new soil. If higher duties do not urge you home, your 
place is to remain here as one of us. If you leave this 
estate, buy land from the Poles. You, with the plough- 
share in your hand, will be still a German soldier ; for the 
boundary of our tongue and our customs is gaining upon 
our enemies." So saying, he pointed to the east. 

Karl reached out his hand, and said, " I remain." 

When Anton left the bailiff, he found Lenore at the door. 
" I am waiting for you," cried she ; " come with me, AVohl- 
fart ; while you remain here, you belong to me." 

" If your words were less friendly," replied Anton, " I 
might fancy that you were secretly glad to get rid of me, 
for I have not seen you so cheerful for a long time. Head 
erect, rosy cheeks; even the black dress has vanished !" 

" This is the dress I wore when we drove together in 
the sledge, and you admired it then. I am vain," cried 
she, with a mournful smile. " I wish that the impression 
you carry away with you of me should be a pleasant 
one. Anton, friend of my youth, what a mystery it is 
that on the very first day free from care that I have known 
for years we must part. The estate is sold, and I breathe 
again. What a life it has been of late years ! always 
anxious, oppressed, humbled by friend and foe ; always in 
debt, either for money or services ; it was fearful. Not as 
far as you were concerned, Wohlfart. You are my child- 
hood's friend ; and if you were in trouble of any kind, it 



300 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



■would be happiness to me if you would call me, and say : 
' Now I want you ! now come to me, wild Lenore.' I will be 
wild no longer. I will think of all you have said to me." 
Thus she ran on in her excitement, her eyes beaming. She 
hung on his arm, which she had never done before, and 
drew him in and out of eveiy building in the ftirm-yard. 
*' Come, Wohlfart ; let us take a last walk through the 
farm which was once ours. We bought this cow with the 
white star together," cried she ; " you asked for my opinion 
of her, and that pleased me much." 

Anton nodded. "We neither of us were very sure 
about it, and Karl had to decide." 

" "V\Tiat do you mean ? You paid for her, and I gave her 
her first hay, consequently she belongs to us both. Just 
look at this lovely black calf. Mr. Sturm threatens to paint 
its eai-s red, that it may look a perfect little demon." She 
knelt down beside it, stroked and hugged it, then suddenly 
starting up, she cried, " I don't know why I should make 
so much of it ; it is mine no longer, it belongs to somebody 
else." Yet there was mu'th in her tone of pretended re- 
gret. "Come to the pony now," she said; "my poor 
little fellow ! He has grown old since the day when I rode 
after you through our garden." 

Anton caressed the favourite, who turned his head now 
to him, now to Lenore. 

" Do you know how it happened that I met you on the 
pony?" said Lenore to Anton over its back. "It was no 
accident. I had seen you sitting under the shrubs. I can 
tell you so to-day ; and I had thought, ' Heavens ! what a 
handsome youth ! I wall have a good look at him.' And 
that's how it happened as it did." 



DEBIT AN^I) CREDIT. 



301 



" Yes," said Anton ; " then came the stl•a^vl)erl■ics, then 
the lake. I stood there and swaliowed the strawberries, 
and was rather inclined to tears ; but through it all, my 
heart was full of delight in you who rose before me so fair 
and majestic. I see you still in fluttering muslin garments, 
with short sleeves, a golden bracelet on your white arm." 

"Where is the bracelet gone?" asked Lenore gravely, 
leaning her head on the pony's mane. " You sold it, you 
naughty Wohlfart I" The tears stood in her eyes, and she 
stretched out both hands to him over the pony's back. 
" Anton, we could not remain children. My heart's friend, 
farewell ! Adieu, girlish dreams I adieu, bright spring-time ! 
I must now learn to go through the world without my 
guardian ! I will not disgrace you," she continued more 
calmly. " I will always be steady, and a good house- 
keeper. And I will be economical. I will keep the book 
with three long lines down its sides once more, and put 
everything down. We shall need to be saving even in 
trifles, W^ohlfart. Alas, poor mother ! " And she wrung 
her hands, and looked sad again. 

" Come out into the country," suggested Anton ; "if you 
like it, let us go into the woods." 

" Not to the woods, not to the forester's," said Lenore 
solemnly, " but to the new farm ; I will go with you." 

They walked across the fields. "You must lead me 
to-day," said Lenore. " I will not give you up." 

" Lenore, you will make our parting very painful to me." 

" Will it be painful to you ?" cried Lenore, much pleased. 
Then immediately afterwards, shaking her head, "No, 
Wohlfart, not so; you have often longed in secret to be 
tar away from me." 



302 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



Anton looked at her with surprise. 

" I know," cried she, confidentially pressing his arm ; " I 
know it very well. Even when you were with me your 
heart was not always with me too. Often it was, that day 
in the sledge, for instance ; but oftener you were thinking 
of othere, when you got certain letters, that you always 
read in the greatest hurry. Wliat was the gentleman's 
name V asked she. 

" Baumann," innocently replied Anton. 

" Caught !" cried Lenore, again pressing his arm. 
" Do you know that that made me very unhappy for a 
long time 1 I was a foolish child. We are grown wise, 
Wohlfart ; w^e are free people now, and therefore we can go 
about arm in aruL Oh you dear friend ! " 

Arrived at the farm, Lenore said to the farmer's wife, 
" He is leaving us. He has told me that his first pleasure 
here was the nosegay that you gathered for him. I have 
no flowers myself, they don't flourish with me. The only 
garden on the estate is here, behind your house." 

The good woman tied up a small nosegay, gave it to 
Anton, with a courtesy, and sadly said : " It is just the 
same as a year ago." 

" But he is going," cried Lenore, and turning away, her 
tears began to flow. 

Anton now shook hands heartily with the farmer and 
the shepherd : " Think kindly of me, worthy friends." 

" We have always had kindness from you," cried the 
farmer's wife. 

" And fodder for man and beast," said the shepherd, tak- 
ing off" his hat ; " and, above all, consideration and order." 
" Your future is secured," said Anton ; you will have 



DEBIT AND CKEDIT. 



303 



a master who has more in his power than I had." Finally, 
Anton kissed the farmer s curly-headed boy, and gave him 
a keepsake. The boy clung to his coat, and would not let 
him go. 

On their return, Anton said, " What makes our parting 
easier to me is the future fate of the property. And I 
have a prevision that all that still seems uncertain in your 
life will be happily settled ere long." 

Lenore walked in silence by his side ; at length she 
asked, " May I speak to you of the present owner of 
this estate 1 I should like to know how you became his 
friend." 

" By not putting up with a wrong he did me. Our in- 
timacy has remained unshaken, because, while I willingly 
gave way to him in trifles, I always abode by my own 
convictions in graver matters. He has a high respect 
for strength and independence, and might easily become 
tyrannical if he encountered weakness of judgment and 
will." 

" How can a woman be firm and self-reliant with such 
a one as he ? " said Lenore, cast down. 

" No doubt," replied Anton thoughtfully, " this must 
be much more difficult for a woman who passionately loves 
him. Everything that looks like temper or self-will, he 
will rudely break down, and will not spare the conquered. 
But if opposed by a worthy and modest nature, he will 
respect it. And if I were ever called upon to give his future 
wife a counsel, it would be this, that she should carefully 
guard against whatever might pass for bold or free in 
woman. The very thing that might make a stranger 
agreeable, because easily establishing a familiar footing 



304 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



between them, is just what he would least esteem in 
her." 

Lenore clung closer to Anton as he spoke, and bent her 
head. They returned in silence to the castle. 

In the afternoon, Anton went once more over the estate, 
with Karl for companion. Hitherto he had always felt 
that he was living in a strange land : now, when about to 
leave it, this seemed a home. Wherever he looked, he saw- 
objects that had for a whole year engaged his attention. 
He had bought the wheat with which this field was sown ; 
he had ordered the plough with which that servant was 
ploughing. Here, he had roofed-in a bam ; there, he had 
improved a ruinous bridge. Like all who enter upon a 
new field of labour, he had had numberless plans, hopes, 
projects; and now that he was suddenly called upon to 
relinquish these, he first discovered how dear they had 
been. He next spent an hour in the forester's house. 
As they parted, the latter said : " When you first laid 
hand on this door, I little thought that the trees around us 
would stand so safe, and that I should ever live again 
among my fellow-men. You have made dying difficult to 
an old man. Mr. Wohlfart." 

The parting hour came. Anton took a short and formal 
leave of the Baron ; Lenore was quite absorbed in sorrow ; 
and Fink affectionate as a brother. As Anton stood by 
him, and looked with emotion at Lenore, he said, " Be at 
ease, my friend ; here, at least, I will try to be what you 
were." One last hand-clasp, one last farewell, then Anton 
jumped into the carriage. Karl seized the reins. They 
drove past the barn into the village road ; the castle dis- 
appeared. At the end of the wood, Karl halted. A troop 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



305 



of men were there assembled — the forester, the farmer, the 
shepherd, the Kunau smith, with a few of his neighbours, 
and the son of the Neudorf bailiff. 

Anton joyfully sprang down, and greeted them once 
more. 

"My father sends me to bid you farewell," said the 
bailiff's son. "His wounds are healing, but he cannot 
leave his room." And the Kunau smith shouted out as a 
last farewell, " Greet our countrymen at home for me, and 
say that they must never forget us ! " 

Silently, as on the day of his arrival, Anton sat by the 
side of his faithful Karl. He was free — free from the spell 
that had lured him hither — free from many a prejudice ; 
but while as free, he was as poor as a bird of the air. He 
had now to begin life over again. Whether the past year 
had made him stronger or weaker, remained to be proved. 
On the whole, however, he did not regret what he had 
done. He had had gains as well as losses ; he had helped 
to found a new German colony; he had opened out the 
path to a happy future for those he loved ; he felt himself 
more mature, more experienced, more settled. And so he 
looked beyond the heads of the horses which were carrying 
him homewards, and said to himself, " Onwards ! I am 
free, and my way is now clear!" 



VOL. II. 



17 



306 



DEBIT AND CREDIT, 



CHAPTER XIII. 



TT is evening. Sabine stands in her treasui'e-cliamber 
before the open cupboards, arranging the newly-washed 
table-linen, and again tying rose-coloured tickets on the 
different sets. Of course she knew nothing, and guessed 
nothing. Her white damask shines to-day like silver, the 
cut-glass cover, which she lifts from the old family goblet, 
rings cheerily as a bell, and the vibrations thrill through the 
wood-work of the great presses. All the painted heads on 
the china cups look singularly cheerful to-day. Doctor Mar- 
tin Luther and the sorcerer, Faust, positively laugh. Even 
Goethe smiles, and it is impossible to say how amused old 
Fritz appears. Yet Sabine, the sagacious mistress of the 
house, knows not what these know. Or does she .guess 
it 1 Hark, she sings ! A merry tune has not passed her 
lips for long, but to-day her heart is light, and as she 
looks at the shining display of glass and damask, some- 
thing of their brightness seems to fall upon her, and low 
as the notes of the wood-bird, a song of her childhood 
sounds through the little room. And from the cupboard she 
suddenly moves to the window, where her mother's picture 
hangs over the arm-chair, and she looks cheerfully at the 
picture, and sings before her mother's face the self-same 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



307 



song that once, from that very arm-chair, that mother sang 
to the little Sabine. 

At that moment a cloaked figure is gliding across the 
ground-floor. Balbus, who is superintending the great 
scales, stands in the arched room, casts a half-glance at the 
figure, and thinks to himself, with surprise : " That is rather 
like Anton." The porters are closing a chest, and the 
eldest, turning round accidentally, sees a shadow thrown by 
a lantern on the wall, and leaving off hammering for a 
moment, says : "I could almost have fancied that was 
Mr. Wohlfart." And, in the yard a vehement barking and 
leaping is heard, and Pluto runs in frantically to the ser- 
vants, wags his tail, barks, licks their hands, and, in his 
own way, tells the whole stoiy. But even the servants 
know nothing, and one of them says, " It must have been 
a ghost, I have lost sight of it." 

Then the door of Sabine's room opens. "Is it you, 
Franz ?" said she, interrupting her song. No one answered. 
She turned round, her eyes fixed wistfully upon the figure 
at the door. Then her hand trembled and clasped the back 
of the chair, while he hurried towards her, and in passionate 
emotion, not knowing what he was doing, knelt down near 
the chair into which she had sunk, and laid his head on her 
hand. That was Anton. Not a word was spoken. Sabine 
gazed on the kneeling form as at some beatific vision, and 
gently laid her other hand on his shoulder. 

She does not ask why he is come, nor whether he is free 
from the glamour that led him away. As he kneels before 
her, and she looks into his eyes, that tenderly and anxiously 
seek hers, she understands that he is returning to the firm, 
to her brother, to her. 



308 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



" How long you have been away!" said she reproach- 
fully, but with a blissful smile upon her face. 

*'Ever have I been here!" said Anton passionately. 
" Even in the hour when I left these walls, I knew that 
I was giving up all of joy — all of happiness that I could 
hope to know ; and now I am irresistibly impelled to 
come and tell you how it is with me. I worshipped you 
as a holy image while living near you. The thought of 
you has been my safety when far away. It has protected 
me in solitude, in an irregular life, in great temptation. 
Your form has ever risen protectingly between me and 
that of another. Often have I seen your eyes fixed upon 
me as of yore — often have you raised your hand to warn 
me of the danger I was in. If I have not lost myself, 
Sabine, I owe it to you." 

And again he bent over her hand. Sabine held him 
fast and whispered, " My friend ! my dear friend ! we 
must both feel that we have dreamed and struggled — that 
we have resolved and overcome. What must you not have 
6ufi"ered, my friend ! " 

"No!" cried Anton. "It was not the same suffering 
nor the same strength. I saw and reverenced you at the 
time when you were silently conquering yourself I was a 
weak, wilful man. I do not know what would have 
become of me had not your memory lived in my soul. 
When far away, the influence you exerted over me went 
on increasing, and only because I thought of you became I 
free." 

" And how do you know that it may not have been the 
same in my case 1 " asked Sabine, looking lovingly at 
him. 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



309 



" Sabine ! " cried Anton, beside himself. 

" Yes, that is your own noble face !" cried she. " Alas ! 
iu your features, too, I can read the traces of an iron time." 
She rose. " We have heard of your heroic deeds, though 
you sent us nothhig during the whole long year but a 
short message." 

"Could I venture to do more V broke in Anton 
eagerly. 

Sabine nodded archly. " We have however watched for 
tidings that reached us through your friends. Oh ! when 
I, in the midst of these safe walls, thought of my friend 
exposed to every assault of the enemy ! Wohlfart ! Wohl- 
fart ! I rejoice that I see you again !" 

"Another has the property now, and the care of the 
defenceless family," replied Anton. 

" It is the ordering of Providence," cried Sabine ; and 
looked with delight on the newly-returned one. 

In the uniform tenor of her domestic life, she had for 
many years had a cordial liking for Anton. Since he had 
left her, she had found out that she loved him, and had 
hidden the feeling in her heart. No trace of her love nor 
her renunciation had appeared in the regular household. 
Hardly had she by a look betrayed the struggle going on 
within. Now in the rapture of meeting, her feelings broke 
out. She looked at Anton in beaming delight, thinking of 
nothing but the joy of having him with her again, and not 
remarking the traces of a diflferent feeling in Anton's pale 
features. He has found her indeed, but only to lose her 
again for ever ! 

Still does Sabine hold his hand, and now she leads him 
through the corridor to her brother's study. 



310 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



What are you doing, Sabine ? This house is a good 
house, certainly, but not one in which people feel poetically, 
are easily moved, open their arms at once, and press new- 
comers to their heart. It is a straight-forward, prosaic 
house, where requests are made and refused in few words ; 
and it is a proud and rigid house besides. Remember 
this ! It is no tender welcome to which you are leading 
your friend ! 

This Sabine felt, and delayed a moment before she 
opened the door ; but her resolve was taken, and holding 
Anton's hand in hers, she drew him in, crying to her bro- 
ther with a beaming face : " Here he is — he is returned 
to us !" 

The merchant rose from his writing-table, but he re- 
mained standing by it ; and his first words, coldly and 
peremptorily spoken, were these : "Release my sister's hand, 
Mr. Wohlfart !" 

Sabine drew back. Anton stood alone in the middle of 
the room, and looked at the principal. His strongly- 
marked features were aged during the last year, his hair 
had grown grey, the lines in his face had deepened. 

" That I should enter here at the risk of being unwel- 
come," said Anton, " will show you how strong my desire 
was to see you and the firm once more. If I have excited 
your displeasure, do not let me feel it in this hour." 

The merchant tui'ned to his sister. " Leave us, Sabine ; 
I wish to speak to Mr. Wohlfart alone." Sabine went up 
to her brother, and stood erect before him. She said not 
a word, but with a bright glance, in which a firm resolve 
was plainly visible, she looked full into his frowning face, 
and then left the room. The merchant looked gloomily 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



after her, and turned to Anton. " What brings you back 
to us, Wohlfartr' said he. "Have you failed to attain 
what your youthful ambition hoped for, and are you come 
to seek in the tradesman's house the happiness that once 
seemed inadequate to your claims 1 I hear that your friend 
Fink has settled himself on the Baron's property ; — has he 
sent you back to us because you were in his way there 

Anton's brow grew clouded. " I do not appear before 
you as an adventurer," said he ; " you are unjust in ex- 
pressing such a suspicion ; nor does it become me to submit 
to it. There was a ,time when your judgment of me was 
more friendly ; I thought of that time when I sought you 
out ; I think of it now, that I may forgive your injurious 
words." 

" You once said to me," continued the merchant, " that 
you felt yourself at home in my house and firm. And you 
had a home, Wohlfart, in our hearts, and in the business. 
In a moment of eftervescence you gave us up, and we, with 
sorrow, did the same with you. Why do you return ? 
You cannot be a stranger to us, for we have been attached 
to you ; and, personally, I am deeply indebted to you. You 
can no more be our friend, for you have yourself forcibly 
rent the ties that bound us. You reminded me just when I 
least expected it, that a, mere business-contract alone bound 
you to my counting-house. What are you seeking now 1 Do 
you want a place in my office, or do you, as appears, want 
much more f 

" I want nothing," cried Anton in the utmost excite- 
ment ; " nothing but a reconciliation with you, I want 
neither a place in your office, nor anything else. When I 
left the Baron, I felt that my first step must be to your 



312 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



house, my next to seek employment elsewhere. Whatever 
I may have lost during the past year, I have not lost my 
self-respect ; and had you met me as kindly as I felt to- 
wards you, I should have told you in the course of our first 
hour together what you now demand. I am aware that 
here I cannot stay. I used to feel this when far away, as 
often as I thought of this house. Since I have entered its 
walls and seen your sister again, I know that I cannot re- 
main here without acting dishonourably." 

The merchant went to the window, and silently looked 
out into the night. When he turned round again the hard 
expression had left his face, and he looked searchingly at 
Anton. " That was well spoken, Wohlfart," said he at 
length, " and I hope sincerely meant. I will be equally open 
towards you in saying, that I still regret that you have left 
us. I knew you as an older man seldom knows a younger, 
I could thoroughly trust you. Now, dear Wohlfart, you 
are become a stranger to me ; forgive me what I am about 
to say. An imregulated imagination allured you into cir- 
cumstances which could not but be morally unhealthy. 
You have beeii the confidant of a bankrupt and a debtor, 
who may have retained many amiable characteristics, but 
who must have lost, in his dealings with unprincipled 
men, what we here in this firm call honour. I gladly 
assume that your uprightness refused to do anything con- 
trary to your sense of right, but, Wohlfart, I repeat to 
you what I have said before : any permanent dealings 
with the weak and wicked bring the best man into danger. 
Gradually and imperceptibly his standard becomes lowered, 
and necessity compels him to agree to measures that 
elsewhere he would have peremptorily rejected. I am 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



313 



convinced that you are still what the world calls an upright 
man of business, but I do not know whether you have pre- 
served that proudly pure integrity, which alas ! many in 
the mercantile world treat as mere pedantry, and to have 
to tell you this makes your return painful to me." 

Anton, white as the handkerchief he held, with trembling 
lips replied, Enough, Mr. Schroter. That you should, in 
the first hour of meeting, say to me the most bitter thing 
one could possibly say to an enemy, con\4nces me that I 
did wrong to re-enter this house. Yes, you are right ! I 
never, during my y^ar of absence, lost the sense of the 
danger you speak of I ever felt it the greatest mis- 
fortune to be unable to esteem the man by whom I was 
employed. But I dare make answer to you, with pride 
equal to your own, that the purity of the man who care- 
fully shrinks from temptation, is worth little ; and that, if 
I have gained anything from a year of bitterness, it is the 
consciousness of having been tried, and kno^ving that I no 
longer act as a boy, from instinct and habit, but from prin- 
ciple, as a man should. I have gained a confidence in my- 
self that I had not before; and because I know how to 
respect my own character, I tell you that I perfectly under- 
stand your doubt, but that since you have given it utter- 
ance, I look upon all ties between us as by yourself dis- 
solved, and leave you, never to return. Farewell, LIr. 
Schroter!" 

Anton turned to go, but the merchant hurried after him, 
and laid his hand on his shoulder. 

" Not so fast, Wohlfart," said he gently ; " the man who 
saved me from the stroke of the Polish sword, must not 
leave my house in anger." 



314 



DEBIT AND CKEDIT. 



" Do not recall the past," replied Anton ; " it is useless. 
It is you, not I, who have mixed up injury and indignation 
with our meeting; you, not I, who have annihilated the 
power of old recollections." 

"Not so, Wohlfart," said the merchant. "If by my 
words I have offended you more than I intended, make 
allowance for my grey hairs, and for a heart full of pain- 
ful anxiety the past year through, and full of anxiety too 
on your account. We do not meet as we parted; and 
whenever friends have a mutual misgiving, let them openly 
express it, that they may stand and start clear. Had I 
valued you less, I should have kept back my thoughts, 
and my greeting would have been more polite. Now, 
however, I bid you welcome." And he held out his han(L 

Anton took it, and repeated the word, " Farewell !" 

The merchant held his hand firmly, and said with a 
smile, " Not so fast ; I cannot let you go just yet. Re- 
member that it is your oldest acquaintance who now 
entreats you to remain." 

"I will remain then this evening, Mr. Schroter," said 
Anton coldly. 

The merchant led him to the sofa, and began to com- 
municate the present state of the firm. It was no cheerful 
picture that he drew, but it proved his entire confidence, 
and helped to allay the sting of his harsh reception. 

Gradually Anton became absorbed in the business details, 
eagerly went over calculations, and unconsciously began to 
speak of the business as though he still belonged to it. 
Once more the merchant held out his hand, with a 
melancholy smile. Anton now grasped it cordiaUy, and 
the reconciliation w^as complete. 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



315 



" And now, dear Wohlfart," said Mr. Schroter, " let us 
speak of yourself. You once ctmfided to me some parti- 
culars connected with your exertions in the Baron's cause, 
and I impatiently cut you short; I now entreat you to 
tell me all you can." 

Anton accordingly proceeded to mention all matters 
that admitted of being publicly talked of ; and the mer- 
chant listened with the utmost attention. 

" And now," said he, rising from his seat, " allow me 
to touch upon your future. After what you have said, 
I will not ask you to spend the next few jenrs, with me, 
welcome as your help would prove just now. But I beg 
that you will leave it to me to look out for a fitting post 
for you. We will not be in too great a hurry about it. 
Meanwhile, spend the few next weeks with us. Your room 
is empty, and just as you left it. I find from what you 
tell me, that you have occupation cut out for you for some 
months to come. If, in addition to this, you are inclined 
to help me in the counting-house, your help will be very 
welcome. As for your relations with my family," he gravely 
continued, " I fully trust you. It is a positive necessity to 
me to prove this, and hence my present proposal." 

Anton looked down in silence. 

" I am not imposing on you any painful ordeal," said 
the merchant ; " you know the habits of our household, and 
how little opportunity there is of much conversation. For 
Sabine, as well as for yourself, I wish a few weeks of your 
olden way of life, and when the time comes, a calm part- 
ing. I wish this on my sister's account, Wohlfart," added 
he candidly. 

" Then," said Anton, " I remain." 



316 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



Meanwhile, Sabine was restlessly pacing up and down 
the drawing-room, and trying to catch a sound from her 
brother's study. Sometimes, indeed, a sad thought would 
intrude : but it did not find a resting-place to-day. Again 
the fire crackled and the pendulum swung; but the fir-logs 
burnt right merrily, throwing out small feux-de-joie through 
the stove-door, and the clock kept constantly ticking to her 
ear — " He is come ! he is there !" 

The door opened and the cousin came bustling in. "What 
do I hear T cried she. "Is it possible ? Franz will have it 
that Wohlfart is with your brother." 

" He is," said Sabine, with averted face. 

"What new mystery is this?" continued the cousin in 
a tone of discontent. " Why does not Traugott bring him 
liere ? and why is not his room got ready ? How can you 
stand there so quietly, Sabine 1 I declare I don't under- 
stand you !" 

" I am waiting," whispered Sabine, pressing her wrists 
firmly, for her hands trembled. 

At that moment footsteps were heard nearing the room ; 
the merchant cried out at the door, " Here is our guest." 
And while Anton and the cousin were exchanging friendly 
greetings, he went on to say, " Mr. Wohlfart will spend a 
few weeks with us, till he has found such a situation as I 
should wish for him." The cousin heard this announce- 
ment with intense surprise, and Sabine shifted the cups 
and saucers to conceal her emotion ; but neither made 
any remark, and the lively conversation carried on at 
the tea-table served to disguise the agitation which all 
shared. Each had many questions to hear and answer, 
for it had been a year rich in events. It is true that a 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



317 



certain constraint was visible in Anton's manner, while 
speaking of his foreign life, of Fink and the German colony 
on the Polish estate ; and that Sabine listened with drooping 
head. But the merchant got more and more animated, 
and when Anton rose to retire, the face of the former wore 
its good-humoured smile of old, and heartily shaking his 
guest's hand, he said in jest, " Sleep well, and be sure to 
notice your first dream ; they say it is sure to come to pass." 

And when Anton was gone, the merchant drew his sister 
into the unlighted anteroom, kissed her brow, and whispered 
in her ear : "He has remained uncorrupted, I hope so now 
with all my soul ; " and when they both returned to the 
lamp-light, his eyes were moist, and he began to rally the 
cousin upon her secret partiality for Wohlfart, till the good 
lady clasped her hands and exclaimed : " The man is fairly 
demented to-day !" 

Weary and exhausted, Anton threw himself upon his 
bed. The future appeared to him joyless, and he dreaded 
the inner conflict of the next few weeks. And yet he soon 
sank into a peaceful slumber. And again there was silence 
in the house. A plain old house it was, with many 
angles and secret holes and corners, — no place in truth 
for glowing enthusiasm and consuming passion ; but it 
was a good old house for all that, and it lent a safe shelter 
to those who slept within its walls. 



318 



DEBIT AND CKEDIT. 



CHAPTER XIV. 



rPHE next morning Anton hurried to Ehrenthal's. The 
invalid was not to be spoken to on business, and the 
ladies gave him so ungracious a reception, that he thought it 
unwise to afford them any inkling of the reason of his visit. 
That very day he had notice given to Ehrenthal's attorney, 
by Councillor Horn, of twenty thousand dollars being ready 
in hand for the discharge of Ehrenthal's claims to that 
amount. As for his other demands, unsupported as they 
were by documentary evidence, they were to be referred to 
proper legal authorities. The attorney refused to accept 
the payment offered. Anton accordingly took the necessary 
steps to compel Ehrenthal at once to accept it, and to 
forego all claims that he had hitherto urged in connexion 
therewith. 

It was evening when Anton drew on an old office-coat, 
and with his quickest business-step proceeded to the house 
of Lobel Pinkus. He looked through the window into the 
little bar, and seeing the worthy Pinkus there, put a short 
matter-of-fact inquiry to him : " Mr. T. 0. Schroter wishes 
to be informed if Schmeie Tinkeles of Brody has arrived, 
or is expected here. He is immediately to proceed to the 
firm on business." 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



319 



Piukus returned a cautious answer. Tinkeles was not 
there, and he did not know when he might come. Tinkeles 
often announced himself, and often he did not. The thing 
was uncertain. However, if he saw the man he would give 
the message. 

The next day the servant opened Anton's door, and 
Schmeie Tinkeles stepped in. " Welcome, Tinkeles !" cried 
Anton, looking at him with a smile. 

The trader was astonished to see Anton. A shadow 
passed over his sly face, and a secret disquietude was trace- 
able through all his , voluble expressions of joy. " God's 
miracle it surely is that I sliould see you again before me 
in the body. I have often inquired at Schrotefs house, 
and have never been able to find out whither you were 
gone. I have always liked to deal with you, we have 
made many an excellent purchase together." 

" We have had our quarrels too, Tinkeles," suggested 
Anton. 

" That was a bad business," said Tinkeles deprecatingly. 
" Now, too, there is a sad look out for trade ; the grass 
grows in the streets ; the country has had a heavy time of 
it. The best man did not know when he went to sleep at 
night, whether he should have a leg to stand on in the 
morning." 

" You have got through it, however, Tinkeles ; and I 
presume you have not found it so bad after all. Sit down ; 
I have something to say to you." 

" Why should I sit down?" said the Jew distrustfully, 
as Anton shut and bolted the door. " In business one has 
no time for sitting down ; and why do you bolt the door 1 
Bolts are not wanted — business disturbs no one." 



320 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



" I have something to say to you in confidence," said 
Anton to the trader. " It will do you no harm." 

" Speak on, then, but leave the door open." 

" Listen to me," began Anton. " You remember our 
last conversation when we met upon our travels ?" 

" I remember nothing," said the broker, shaking his 
head, and anxiously looking at the door. 

" You gave me some good advice ; and when I tried to 
hear further, I found you had vanished." 

" These are old stories," replied Tinkeles, with growing 
disquiet. " I can't recall them now. I have something 
to do in the market ; I thought you wanted to speak to 
me on business." 

" It is business about which we are treating, and it may 
be a profitable business for you," said Anton significantly. 
He went to his writing-table, and taking out a roll of money, 
laid it on the table before Tinkeles. " This hundred 
dollars belongs to you, if you give me the information I 
want." 

Tinkeles slyly glanced at the roll and replied, " A hun- 
dred dollars are all very well, but I can't give you any 
information. I know nothing ; I cannot remember. When- 
ever I see you," he irritably went on, " bad luck follows ; 
whenever I have had anything to do with you, it has 
brought me trouble and vexation." 

Anton silently went to his desk and laid another roll of 
money by the first. " Two hundred dollars !" " They 
are yours if you give me the information I need," said he, 
drawing a square around them with a piece of white 
chalk. 

The Galician's eyes fastened greedily upon the square, to 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



3:^1 



which Anton kept silently pointing. Tinkeles at first pre- 
tended indifference, but his eyes grew gradually keener, his 
gestures more restless. He shrugged his shoulders, raised 
his eye-brows, and tried hard to shake off the spell that 
bound him. At length he could bear it no longer ; he 
reached out his hands for the money. 

" Speak first," said Anton, placing his own hand on it. 

" Do not be too severe with me," implored Tinkeles. 

" Hear me," said Anton. " I want nothing unfair — 
nothing which an honourable man need object to. I might 
perhaps expose you tp a legal examination, and get at what 
I want without cost, but I know of old your objections to 
law, and therefore I offer you money. If you were amenable 
to other motives, it would be enough to tell you that a 
family has been made unhappy, because you did not tell 
me more long ago. But this would be useless with you." 

" Yes !" said Tinkeles candidly, " it would be useless. 
Let me see the money that you have put up for me. Are 
there really two hundred dollars f continued he, looking 
greedily at the rolls. " Very well, I know they are right. 
Ask me what you want to know T 

" You have told me that Itzig, Ehrenthal's former book- 
keeper, was plotting to ruin Baron Rothsattel f 

" Has it not turned out as I said T asked Tinkeles. 

" I have reason to assume that you spoke the truth. 
You mentioned two men. Who was the other ?" 

The trader stopped short. Anton made a feint of re- 
moving the money. 

" Let it lie there," entreated Tinkeles. " The other is 
named Hippus, according to what I have heard. He is an 
old man, and has lived a long time with Lobel Pinkus." 

VOL. II. X 



322 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



" Is he in business 

"He is not of our people, and not in business. He is 
baptized. He has been a barrister." 

" Have you ever had any dealings ^\'ith Itzig ?" 

"God preserve me from that man!" cried Tinkeles ; 
" the very first day that he came to town, he tried to open 
the cupboard in which my effects were. I had trouble to 
prevent him from stealing my clothes. I have nothing to 
do with such men." 

" So much the better for you," replied Anton ; " now 
hear me out. The Baron has had a casket stolen, in which 
most important documents were kept. The robbery took 
place in Ehrenthal's office. Have you chanced to hear of 
it ? or have you any suspicion as to who the thief may be?" 

The Galician looked restlessly around the room, at 
Anton, at the money, and then, with closed eyes, and a 
resolute tone, replied, " I have not." 

" This, however, is just what I want to hear ; and the 
money is for him who gives me information respecting it." 

" If I must speak, then," said the Galician, " I must. 
I have heard that the man named Hippus, when drunk, has 
screamed, and has said, ' Now^, then, we have the red-cock ; 
he is done for ; owing to those papers, he is doomed.' " 

"And you know nothing more 1 " asked Anton in pain- 
ful suspense. 

" Nothing," said the Galician ; " it was long ago, and I 
understood but little of what they said to each other." 

"You have not earned the money," returned Anton, 
after a pause ; " you have told me scarce anything. How- 
ever, that you may see the stress I lay upon obtaining in- 
formation from you, take this hundred dollars ; the second 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



323 



will be given when you can put me on the track of the 
thief or the lost papers. Perhaps that is not out of your 
power 

" It is," said the Galician positively, weighing the one 
roll in his hand, and contemplating the other. " What 
Itzig does, he does so as not to be overlooked ; and I am a 
stranger in the place, and have no dealings with rogues." 

" See what you can do, however," replied Anton. " As 
soon as you hear anything, bring me word, and this money 
is yours. I need not caution you to avoid exciting Itzig's 
suspicions. Do notdet it appear that you know me." 

" I am no clnld," answered Tinkeles ; " but I fear that 
I shall not be of use to you in this matter." 

With that he withdrew, having hid the money in the 
folds of his caftan. 

Anton had now heard the name of the man who had 
probably committed the robbery. But the difficulty of 
obtaining the missing documents without legal aid, seemed 
greater than ever. Meanwhile, he would risk a bold step. 
He would enter into negotiations with Itzig himself, and 
make the best use he could of the small amount of know- 
ledge he had gained from the Galician. 

Itzig's shrewd boy opened the door to him. Anton 
stood opposite his former school-fellow, who knew of his 
return from the Baron's estate, and was prepared for this 
visit. The two men looked at each other for a moment, 
both seeking to read the countenance and manner of the 
other, and to arm themselves for the coming conflict. 
There were some things that they had in common. Both 
were accustomed to maintain a calm exterior, and to con- 
ceal the point at which they were aiming. Both were 



324 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



accustomed to rapid induction, careful speech, and cool 
reserve. Both had, in voice and manner, something of 
the formality which business gives. Both were to-day in a 
state of excitement, which reddened Anton's fa(;e, and even 
suftused Veitel's gaunt cheek-bones. 

But the clear glance of the former encountered one that 
was unsteady and lowering ; the honest earnestness of his 
manner was met by a mixture of presumption and ob- 
sequiousness. Each felt that his opponent was dangerous, 
and gathered his full strength. The conflict began. Itzig 
opened it in his own way. " It is a pleasure to me to see 
you again, Mr. Wohlfart," said he, with sudden friendliness 
of manner ; " it is long since I have been fortunate enough 
to meet you. I have always taken a great interest in you ; 
we were school-fellows, we both came to town the same day, 
we have both got on in the world. I heard you were gone 
to America. People will talk. I hope you will remain in 
town now. Perhaps you will return to Mr. Schroter's 
ofl&ce ; they say he much regretted your departure." In 
this way he ran on, really intent to discover from Anton's 
aspect the purport of his call. 

He had made an error in pretending not to know where 
Anton had been of late, for his avoidance of the name of 
Rothsattel firmly convinced Anton that he had cause for 
peculiar circumspection regarding it. 

Availing himself of this mistake of Veitel's, Anton re- 
plied as coldly as though he had not heard a word of the 
former's introductory flourish, " I am come, Mr. Itzig, to 
consult you on a matter of business. You are acquainted 
with the circumstances connected with the family property 
of Baron Rothsattel, now about to be judicially sold." 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



325 



I have the sort of general information respecting it," 
replied Veitel, throwing himself back resolutely against the 
corner of the sofa, " that people have on such subjects. I 
have heard a good deal about it." 

" You have yourself for many years, in Ehrenthal's office, 
conducted transactions with the Baron, relative to his 
estate, and therefore you must have exact information on 
the subject," returned Anton. " And as Ehrenthal is too 
great an invalid to enter upon business-topics, I now apply 
to you for this information." 

"What I heard in Ehrenthal's office when book-keeper 
there, I heard in confidence, and cannot impart. I am 
surprised that you should ask me to do so," added Itzig 
with a malicious glance. 

Anton coldly replied, " I ask nothing that need interfere 
with the sense of duty you profess. I am simply anxious 
to know in whose hands the mortgages on the estate now 
are." 

"You can easily ascertain that by reference to the 
mortgage-book," said Veitel with well- assumed indiffer- 
ence. 

" You may perhaps have heard," continued the persever- 
ing Anton, " that some of the mortgages have changed 
hands during the last few months, and, consequently, the 
present possessors are not entered in the book. It is to be 
presumed, that the deeds have been bought to facilitate or 
to impede a purchase at the approaching sale." 

Hitherto the conversation had been a commonplace pre- 
amble to a serious contest, something like the first moves 
in a game at chess, or the beginning of a race. Itzig's im- 
patience now made a decided advance. 



326 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



" Have you a commission to buy the estate he sud- 
denly inquired. 

" We will assume that I have," replied Anton, " and 
that I wish your co-operation. Are you in a position to 
give me information without loss of time, and will you 
undertake the measures rendered necessary by the sale 
of the mortgages '? " 

Itzig took time to consider. It was possible that Anton's 
only purpose was to secure the property to his friend Fink, 
or to the Baron himself. In this case he w^as in danger of 
losing the fruit of his long scheming and bold deeds. If 
Fink, by his wealth, covered the Baron, Itzig lost the 
estate. While thus perplexed, he remarked that Anton 
was watching him, and decided with the subtlety of a bad 
conscience, that Anton had heard of his plans, and had 
some ulterior purpose. Possibly, this commission to buy 
was but a feint. Accordingly, he hastened to promise his 
co-operation, and to express the hope, that he might suc- 
ceed, at the right time, in discovering the present possessor 
of the mortgages. 

Anton saw that the rogue understood him, and was on 
his guard. Changing his mode of attack, he suddenly 
asked: "Do you know a certain Hippus ?" and keenly 
observed the effect of the queiy. 

For a moment Itzig s eyelids quivered, and a slight flush 
suffused his face. As if lie was trying to recollect the name, 
he tardily replied : " Yes, I know him. He is a decayed 
useless creature." 

Anton saw that he had struck home. " Perhaps you 
recollect, that about a year and a half ago, a casket be- 
longing to the Baron, and containing deeds and papers of 



DEBIT AND CEEDTT. 



327 



j^Cfit importance to him, was stolen from EhrenthaVs 
office." 

Itzig sat still, but his eyes glanced restlessly to and 
fro. No stranger would have observed that symptom of a 
bad conscience, but Anton remembered it in the boy 
Veitel, when accused at school of some petty theft. Itzig, 
he saw, knew all about the papers and the robbery. 

At length, the agent replied in a tone of indifference, 
" I have heard of this ; it occurred a short time before I 
left Ehrenthal's." 

" Very well," continued Anton, " these papers could 
have no value for the thief himself. But there is reasoTi 
to believe, that they have found their way into the hand:^ 
of a third person." 

" That is not impossible, but I should hardly think it 
likely any one would keep up worthless papers so long." 

" I know that these papers are extant, nay, I know 
that they are being used to the Baron's prejudice." 

Itzig writhed upon his seat. " Why do you speak to 
me upon these subjects ?" said he hoarsely. 

" You will soon discover my drift," said Anton. " I 
know, as I before said, that the papers are still extant ; and 
I have reason to believe that you may discover their pos- 
sessor. You can gain any information you may still want 
respecting them from Hippus." 

" Why from him T' 

" He has, in the presence of witnesses, made use of ex- 
pressions that plainly prove him to be acquainted with 
their purport." 

Itzig ground his teeth, and muttered something very 
like the words, " Drunken rascal !" 



328 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



Anton continued, " Tlie casket and papers are the Baron's 
property ; and as he is less intent upon the prosecution 
of the thief than on the restoration of the papers, he is 
prepared to pay a hirge sum to any one who procures 
them." 

" If," said Itzig, " the Baron lays so much stress upon 
the recovery of the casket, how came it that so little fuss 
was made about it at the time of its disappearance 1 I 
never heard of the police being apphed to, or of any steps 
being taken in connexion with it." 

This insolence enraged Anton. He replied indignantly, 
" The robbery was accompanied by circumstances which 
made an inquiry painful to Ehrenthal ; the casket disap- 
]ieared from his locked-up office, and it was probably on 
that account that no legal investigation was made." 

Itzig rejoined, "If I remember aright, Ehrenthal informed 
his friends at the time, that the investigation was given up 
out of consideration to the Baron." 

Anton keenly felt this home-thrust, and could hardly 
(command himself as he replied, " It is possible that the 
Baron may have had, at the time, other reasons for letting 
the subject drop." 

Now, then, Veitel felt safe. He read in Anton's sup- 
pressed anger how necessary secrecy was felt. It was a 
bona fide offer ; the Baron was in dread of the thief 
Recovering all his composure, he quietly went on to 
say : "As far as I know Hippus, he is a lying sort of 
fellow who often gets drunk. Whatever he may have 
said in his cups will not, I fear, help us much in re- 
covering the papers. Has he given you any sufficient 
ground for applying to him ? " 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



329 



Now, then, Anton had reason to be on his guard. 
He has, in the presence of witnesses, made use of ex- 
pressions which prove that he is acquainted with the 
papers, knows where they are to be found, and purposes 
to make use of them." 

<' That may be enough for a la^^^er, but not enough for 
a man of business," continued Veitel. " Do you know his 
exact words 1" 

Anton parried the question, and struck at his opponent 
by saying, " His statements are known exactly by me and 
by others, and have occasioned my visit to you." 

Itzig had to quit this dangerous ground. " And what 
sum will the Baron expend in the recovery of these papers ? 
I mean to say, is it an affair that is worth the outlay of 
time and trouble ? I have a gi'eat many other matters on 
hand. You could hardly expect me to devote myself for 
the sake of a couple of louis-d'or to the search of anything 
so insignificant and difficult to find as papers that some 
one has hidden." 

Years ago, when the two were travelling together to the 
capital, where they noAv met as opponents, it was the Jew- 
boy who was in search of papers on which his childish folly 
fancied his fortune dependant. At that time he was ready 
to buy the Baron's estate for Anton, and now it was 
Anton who was in search of important documents, and 
who applied to him for the Baron's property. Veitel had 
discovered the mysterious receipt he then looked for; he 
held the Baron's estate in his hands, and his destiny neared 
its fulfilment. Both thought at the same moment of the 
day of their common journey. 

Anton replied, " I am authorized to treat with you as 



330 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



to the sura ; but I would observe that the matter is a 
pressing one. I therefore entreat you to inform me whe- 
ther you are prepared to deliver the documents to the Baron 
Rothsattel, and to be employed in our interc-st as regards 
the purchase of the mortgages." 

" I will make inquiries, and consider whether I can 
serve you," coldly replied Veitel. 

Anton rejoined as coldly, " How much time do you 
require to make up your mind ?" 

" Three days," said the agent. 

" I can only give you four- and-twenty hours," said Anton 
positively. " If, in that time, you have not informed me 
of your intention, I shall, on the Baron's behalf, take every 
possible step to procure the papers, or to convince myself 
of their destruction ; and I shall use my present know- 
ledge, respecting their abstraction and hiding-place, to 
discover the perpetrator of the felony." Then, taking out 
his watch, he said — " To-morrow, at the same hour, I 
shall call for your reply." 

And so the important interview ended. As the door 
closed behind Anton, Itzig's resolve was taken. " Only 
one week," muttered he, " to my betrothal to Rosalie '. 
The following day I shall find the notes-of-hand in a 
corner of Ehrenthal's office. Then Rothsattel and his 
friends must come to an arrangement upon my own terms. 
By the threat of a legal investigation, and of making the 
Baron's misconduct public, I can force this Wohlfart to 
anything I like. Only a week ! If I hold out so long 
the game is mine !" 

When Anton returned at the expiration of the four-and- 
tweuty hours, he found the office closed. He called again 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



331 



in the evening : no one at home. The following morning 
the shrewd youth appeared at the door, and informed him 
that Llr. Itzig was gone on a journey, that lie might 
perhaps return that very hour, but might, on the other 
hand, be absent for some days. 

Anton knew, from his fluency, that the youth spoke 
according to orders given. 

He next went to an ofiicial, who had the reputation of 
being one of the cleverest detectives in the town — cautiously 
disclosed the essentials respecting the stolen casket — 
expressed his suspicions of the robbery having been eff"ected 
by Hippus, under Itzig's directions — and revealed the in- 
complete warnings of the worthy Tinkeles. The detective 
listened with attention, and at length said : " Out of all 
the inadequate information that you have given, the name 
of Hippus interests me most. He is a very dangerous 
character, and hitherto I have not exactly known how 
to get at him. On account of swindling and petty rascali- 
ties, he has often been punished, and the police have their 
eye upon him. I will do all I can for you, so far as he goes. 
I will have him and his efl'ects searched this very day. 
I tell you beforehand we shall find nothing. I am fur- 
ther prepared to repeat this search in the course of a few 
days, at the risk of lowering my character in the eyes of 
the brave Hippus. For our trick of making thieves feel 
safe by means of superficially searching them, may indeed 
answer with novices, but would never avail with this old 
hand. It is certaiii that we shall find nothing at our 
second search." 

"Of what use can the measure be to me, then ?" asked 
Anton in a tone of resignation. 



332 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



" Of more than you fancy. It may further your game 
with the agent Itzig. For, generally speaking, the effect 
of a search is to make the parties uncomfortable. And 
though I am not quite sure how Hippus will take it, I am 
inclined to believe it will perplex him. That may help 
you on. I will see, too, that the first search be clumsily 
and ostentatiously made. Fortunately he has now a settled 
abode again ; for some time he has had a respite from us, 
and has grown bold. I hear, too, that he is getting old 
and feeble. All this may help you to catch Itzig one way 
or other." 

This decision come to, Anton had to retire. 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



333 



CHAPTER XV. 



TT was a dark November evening ; a fog lay heavily on 
the town, filling the old streets and squares, and forcing 
its way into the houses. It gathered round the street- 
lanterns, which looked like didl red balls, and gave no light 
a yard oft". It hung over the river, rolled along the black 
stream, under the bridge, up the steps, and clung to the 
wooden pillars of the gallery. At times there would be a 
rift in its masses, through which the inky stream below 
became visible, flowing like the river of death along the 
dwellings of men. 

The streets were empty. Here and there, close to a 
light, a form would be seen to emerge, and then suddenly 
to disappear. One of these shadows was a short man 
with a stoop, who unsteadily struggled onwards as fast 
as he could. He tottered into the court where Itzig's 
office was, and looked up at the agent's windows. 
The curtains were drawn, but there was a glimmer of 
light to be seen through them. The little man tried to 
stand firm, stared at the light, clenched his fists at it, and 
then going up the steps, rang twice, thrice. At length a 
mufiied footstep was heard, the door was opened, and the 
little man entering, ran through the ante-room, wliich Itzig 



334 



DEBIT AND CKEDIT. 



shut behind him. Itzig looked still paler than his wont, and 
his eyes glanced unsteadily at his untimely guest. Hippus 
had never been a mo^el of manly beauty, but to-day he 
was positively uncanny. His features were sunken, a mix- 
ture of fear and insolence sat on his ugly face, and his eyes 
looked maliciously over his spectacles at his former scholar. 
Evidently he had been drunk ; but some feverish terror 
had seized him, and for a moment neutralized the effects of 
the brandy. 

" They are on me," he cried, grasping recklessly at empty 
air ; " they are on the look-out for me ! " 

"Who would look out for you?" asked Itzig. But he 
knew only too well. 

"The police, you villain!" shrieked the old man. "It 
is on your account, that I am in trouble. I dare not go 
home ; you must hide me." 

" We are not come to that yet," returned Veitel with aU 
the composure he could. " How do you know that the 
police are at your heels 1 " 

"The children in the street are talking of it," cried 
Hippus. " I heard it in the street when I was going 
to creep baek to my hole. It was a mere chance that 
they did not find me in my room. They are in my 
house, standing on the steps, waiting till I come. You 
must hide me! I must have money! I will cross the 
border. I can't stay here any longer ; you must send 
me off"." 

" Send you off I" repeated Itzig gloomily. " Where to, 
pray V 

" Anywhere — where the police cannot reach me — over 
the frontier — to America." 



DEBIT AND CKEDIT. 



335 



" And suppose I don't choose ?" said Itzig, in a tone of 
enmity. 

" You will choose, simpleton. Are you green enough 
not to know what I shall do, if you don't get me out of 
this scrape, you varlet 1 They'll have quick ears at the 
criminal courts, for what I have to tell of you." 

" You would not be so wicked as to betray an old 
friend," said Veitel, in a tone that he vainly tried to make 
pathetic. " Do look at things more calmly. What danger 
is there even if they do arrest you ? Who can prove any- 
thing 1 For want of proof they will have to let you ofi*. 
You know the law as well as the judges do." 

" Indeed !" screamed the old man spitefully. " You 
think I shall go to prison for the sake of a fellow like 
you ? That I shall sit eating bread and water, while you 
are feeding upon the fat of the land, and laughing at the 
old ass Hippus 1 I will not go to prison ; I will be off ; 
and till I can get off, you must hide me." 

" You can't remain here," darkly replied Veitel. " There 
is no safety here for you or me. Jacob would betray you ; 
the people in the house would find out that you were 
here." 

" Where best to take me is your look-out," said the 
man ; " but I demand your help, or" — 

" Hold your jaw !" said Veitel, " and listen to me. If 
I were disposed to give you money, and get you oft' by 
railroad to Hamburg, and over the sea, I could not do 
so immediately, nor without aid. You must be taken by 
night a few miles hence to some small station on the line ; 
I dare not hire a conveyance, that might betray you ; 
and, as you are, you cannot walk. I must look out for 



336 



DEBIT AND CllEDIT. 



some opportunity of getting you off safely, . Meanwhile, 
I must get you to some place that the police do not know 
you to frequent, for I fear they will look for you here. 
If you don't go home, they will probably come here this 
very night. I must go and inquire for a conveyance, and 
a safe shelter. Meanwhile, stay in the back-room till I 
return." 

He opened the door, and Mr. Hippus slipped in like a 
frightened bat. But as Veitel was about to shut the door 
upon him, the old creature pushed between it and the 
wall, crying in high dudgeon, " I w^ill not remain in the 
dark like a rat ; you must leave me a light. I will have a 
light, you devil !" 

" They will see from below that there is a light in the 
room, and that will betray us." 

" I will not sit in the dark !" screamed the old man 
once more. 

Muttering a curse, Veitel took up the lamp and earned 
it into the inner room. Then he closed the door and hur- 
ried into the street. Very cautiously he approached the 
dwelling of Lobel Pinkus. There all was still ; and, looking 
into the bar, he discerned Pinkus sitting among his guests 
in all the security of a good conscience. He crept up the 
steps to his former abode, then took some rusty keys from 
a hidden comer, carefully examined the sleeping-room, and 
saw with satisfaction that it was both dark and empty. He 
hurried on to the gallery, where he remained for a moment 
looking at the rolling cloud-masses and the dusky stream. 
Everything was favourable, but there was not an instant to 
be lost, for a capricious breeze sometimes blew over the 
water, and the fog seemed to be breaking up. In a short 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



337 



time the wind would clearly reveal tlie stream, the outlines 
of the houses and the lanterns, which now looked like re«l 
specks at the corners of the streets. 

Itzig hurried on next to the end of the gallery, and 
turned the key in a door which concealed the way down 
steps. The door creaked as it opened. Itzig went down 
to the river and tried to ascertain its depth. The platform, 
which ran along the base of the houses, and which was 
generally visible the whole year through, was covered ; 
but a few strides through the water would lead from these 
steps to those of the neighboming house. Veitel stared 
down into the river, and put his foot into it to see how 
deep one woidd have to wade before reaching those steps. 
So occupied was he with the escape of the old man, 
that he did .not heed, did not even feel the cold. 
The water rose to his knee. He looked round once 
more. All was darkness, mist, silence like that of the 
grave, but for the wail of the water and the rising 
wind. 

Meanwhile Hippus tried to make himself comfortable. 
After having sent all manner of curses after Veitel, he 
gave his troubled mind to the investigation of the room. 
He went to a low cupboard, tui'ned the key, and looked 
for some fluid that might restore his sinldng strength, and 
refresh his parched gums. He found a bottle of rum, 
poured its contents into a glass, and gulped it down as 
fast as the fiery nature of the poison allowed. A cold 
sweat immediately broke out on his brow, and drawing a 
remnant of a handkerchief from his pocket, he hurriedly 
wiped his face, and reeled up and down the room talking 
to himself. 

VOL. IT. Y 



338 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



"He is a fool, a rascally, cowardly hare, a miserable 
chafferer ; if I wanted to sell him this old handkerchief, he 
could not help buying, it is his nature ; he is a despicable 
creature. And he tries to defy me, and put me in prison ; 
and he is to sit, forsooth, on this sofa, with the rum-bottle 
at his side — the scoundrel ! " Then taking up the empty 
bottle, he dashed it against the wood-work of the sofa, and 
broke it to pieces. "Who was he?" he went on, in in- 
creasing rage ; " a chaffering jack-pudding. I have made 
him what he is, the noodle. If I whistle, he dances ; he 
is only the decoy, I am the bird-catcher." Here Hippus 
tried to whistle a tune, and to execute a few steps. Again 
the cold sweat rained from his brow, and taking out his 
handkerchief, he dried his face, and carefully replaced the 
rag in his pocket. " He does not return," he suddenly 
cried ; "he leaves me here, and they will find me." Then 
running to the door, and violently shaking it : " The villain 
has locked me in — a Jew has locked me in !" shrieked the 
miserable creature, wringing his hands. "I am to die of 
hunger and thirst in this prison. Oh, he has used me ill ! 
used his benefactor basely ; he is an ungrateful wretch, an un- 
natural son !" At this he began to sob ; " I have nursed 
him when he was sick, I have taught him. knowing tricks, I 
have made a man of him, and this is how he rewards his old 
friend." The lawyer wept aloud. Suddenly stopping be- 
fore the mirror, he started at his own reflection. His eyes 
flashed still more angrily, as, pushing his spectacles firmly 
on, he examined the frame. He knew that mirror. Had 
chance brought one of the articles belonging to his better 
days into Pinkus's secret stores, and thence to Veitel's 
ri;om ; or did some resemblance mislead the drunkard 'I 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



339 



At all events, the thoughts it awoke of his former position 
filled him with rage. "It is my mirror ! " he screamed ; 

my own mirror that the rascal has here and rushing 
wildly about the room, he snatched up a chair, and 
struck the mirror with it. The glass soon rattled down in 
a hundred pieces, but he went on belabouring the frame, 
and screaming like a madman. " It hung in my house ; the 
rogue has stolen my mirror, he has stolen my prosperity." 
He poured forth hideous imprecations against the supposed 
thief. 

At that moment Veitel rushed in, having heard the 
noise from the ante-room, and guessing its cause. As soon 
as the lawyer saw him, he ran at him with the raised 
chair, and crying out, " You have brought me to want, and 
you shall pay for it," aimed a blow at Itzig's head. 
But the latter pushed the chair away, and seized hold of 
the old man with all his strength. Hippus struggled and 
cursed in vain, 

Veitel forced him down into a corner of the sofa, and 
whispered, as he held him down, " If you do not keep quiet, 
old man, it's all over with you." 

When the drunkard saw in Itzig's eyes, which were fixed 
upon his, that he had the worst to apprehend from his 
anger, the paroxysm left him, he sank down powerless, and 
muttered in a low voice, while shuddering all over, " He 
will kill me!" 

" Not if you are quiet, you drunken fool ; what devil 
drove you to destroy my room i " 

" He will kill me," mumbled the old man, " because I 
have found my mirror !" 

"You are mad !" cried Veitel, shaking him. " Collect 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



your senses ; you can't stay liere. You must come away ; 
I have a hiding-place for you !" 

" I won't go with you," wailed Hippus ; " you want to 
kill me!" 

Veitel uttered a horrible curse, took up the old man'n 
shabby hat, forced it on, and seizing him by the neck, 
cried, — " You must come, or you are lost ! The police will 
look for you here — and find you too, if you lose any mf>re 
time. Come ! or you'll oblige me to do you a mischief!" 

The old man s strength was broken ; — he wavered. 
Veitel took him by the arm and drew him unresistingly 
away. He took him down the steps, anxiously looking 
round for fear of meeting any one. 

In the cold night air the lawyer's senses paitially 
returned, and Veitel enjoined him to be silent, and to 
follow him, and he would get him off. 

" He will get me off ! " mechanically repeated Hippus, 
running along at his side. As they neared Pinkus's house, 
Veitel proceeded more cautiously ; leading his companion 
through the dark ground-floor, and whispering, " Take my 
liand, and come quietly up-stairs with me." They reached 
the large public room, which was still empty. Much 
relieved, Veitel said, " There is a hiding-place in the next 
house, you must go there." 

" I must go there !" repeated the old man. 

"Follow me!" cried Veitel, leading him along the 
gallery, and then down the covered staircase. 

The old man tottered down the steps, firmly holding the 
coat of his guide, who had almost to carry him. In this 
way they came down step after step, till they reached the 
last one, over which the water was rushing. Veitel went 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



341 



fil'st, and unconcernedly stepped up to his knee in the 
stream, only intent upon leading the old man after him. 

As soon as Hippus felt the cold on his boot, he stood 
still and cried out, " Water ! " 

" Hush !" angrily whispered Veitel ; " not a word !" 

"Water!" screamed the old man. "Help! he will 
murder me !" 

Veitel seized him and put his hand on his mouth, but 
the fear of death had again roused the lawyer's energies, 
and placing his foot on the next step, he clung as firmly 
as he could to the bannisters, and again screamed out — 
" Help !" 

" Accursed wretch !" muttered Veitel, gnashing his 
teeth with rage at this determined resistance ; then, forcing 
liis hat over his face, he took him by the neckcloth with 
all his strength, and hurled him into the water. There 
was a splash — a heavy fall — a hollow gurgling — and all 
was still. 

Beneath the leaden clouds that overhung the river, a 
dark mass might be seen rolling along with the current. 
Soon it disappeared ; the mist concealed it ; the stream 
rushed on ; the water broke wailingly over the steps and 
palings ; and the night wind kept howling out its mono- 
tonous complaint. 

The murderer stood for a few moments motionless in the 
darkness leaning against the staircase railings. Then he 
slowly went up the steps. While doing so, he felt his 
trousers to see how high up they were wet. He thought 
to himself that he must dry them at the stove this very 
night, and saw in fancy the fire in the stove, and himself 
sitting before it in his dressing-gown, as he was accustomed 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



to do when thinking over liis business. If he Iiatl ever in 
his life known comfortable repose, it had been when, weary 
of the cares of the day, he sat before his stove-fire and 
watched it till his heavy eyelids drooped. He realized 
how tired he was now, and what good it would do him to 
go to sleep before a warm fire. Lost in the thought, he 
stood for a moment like one overcome with drowsiness, when 
suddenly he felt a strange pressure within him, something 
that made it difiicult to breathe, and bound his breast as with 
iron bars. Then he thought of the bundle that he had 
just thrown into the river ; he saw it cleave the flood ; he 
heard the rush of water, and remembered that the hat which 
he had forced over the man's face had been the last thing 
visible on the surfiice, a round, strange-looking thing. He 
saw the hat quite plainly before him — battered, the rim 
half off, and two grease spots on the crown. It had been a 
very shabby hat. Thinking of it, it occurred to him that 
he could smile now if he chose. But he did not smile. 
Meanwiiile he had got up the steps. As he opened the 
staircase-door he glanced along the dark gallery through 
which two had passed a few minutes before, and only 
one returned. He looked down at the grey surface of 
the stream, and again he was sensible of that singidar pres- 
sure. He rapidly crept through the large room and down 
the steps, and on the ground-floor ran up against one of the 
lodgers in the caravansera. Both hastened away in dif- 
ferent directions without exchanging a word. 

This meeting turned his thoughts into another direction. 
AVas he safe ? The fog still lay thick on the street. No 
one had seen him go in with Hippus, no one had recog- 
nised him as he went out. The investigation would only 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



343 



begin when they found the old man in the river. Would 
he be safe then 1 

These thoughts passed through the murderer's mind as 
calmly as though he were reading them in a book. Mingled 
with them came doubts as to whether he had his cigar-case 
with him, and as to why he did not smoke a cigar. 
He cogitated long about it, and at length found himself 
returned to his dwelling. He opened the door ; the last 
time he had opened the door a loud noise had been 
heard in the inner room. He listened for it now. He 
would give anything, to hear it. A few minutes ago it 
had been to be heard. Oh, if those few minutes had 
never been ! Again he felt that hollow pressure, but more 
strongly, ever more strongly than before. He entered 
the room, the lamp still burnt, the fragments of the rum- 
bottle lay about the sofa, the bits of broken mirror shone 
like silver dollars on the floor. Veitel sat down exhausted. 
Then it occurred to him that his mother had often told him 
a childish story, in which silver dollars fell upon a poor man's 
floor. He could see the old Jewess sitting at the hearth, 
and he a small boy standing near her. He could see him- 
self looking anxiously down on the dark earthen floor, and 
wondering whether the white dollars would fall down for 
him. Now he knew — his room looked just as if there had 
been a rain of white dollars. He felt something of the 
restless delight which that tale of his mother had always 
awaked, when again came suddenly that same hollow pres- 
sure. Heavily he rose, stooped and collected the broken 
glass. He put all the pieces into a corner of the cupboard, 
detached the frame from the wall, and put it wrong-side 
out in a corner. Then he took the lamp, and the glass 



344 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



which he used to fill with water for the night ; but as 
lie touched it a shudder came over him, and he put it 
down. He who was no more had drunk out of that 
glass. He took the lamp to his bedside and undressed. 
He hid his trousers in the cupboard, and brought out an- 
other pair, which he rubbed against his boots till they were 
dirty at the bottom. Then he put out the lamp, and as 
it flickered before it went quite out, the thought struck 
him that human life and a flame had something in com- 
mon. He had extinguished a flame. And again that 
jjain in the breast, but less clearly felt, for his strength 
was exhausted, his nervous energy spent. The murderer 
slept. 

But when he wakes I Then the cunning will be over 
and gone with which his distracted mind has tried, as if 
in delirium, to snatch at all manner of trivial things and 
thoughts in order to avoid the one feeling which ever 
weighs him down I When he wakes ! Henceforth, while 
still half asleep, he will feel the gradual entrance of 
terror and misery into his soul. Even in his dreams he 
will have a sense of the sweetness of unconsciousness and 
the horrors of thought, and will strive against waking : 
while, spite of his strivings, his anguish grows stronger and 
stronger, till, in despair, his eyelids start open, and he 
gazes into the hideous present, the hideous future. 

And again his mind will seek to cover over the fact 
with a web of sophistry ; he will reflect how old the dead 
man was, how wicked, how wretched ; he will try to 
convince himself that it was only an accident that occa- 
sioned his death — a push given by him in sudden anger ; — i 
how unlucky that the old man's foot should have slipped 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



345 



MS it did ! Then will recur the doubt as to his safety — 
a hot flush will suffuse his pale face, the step of his 
servant will fill him with dread, the sound of an iron- 
shod stick on the pavement will be taken for the tramp 
of the armed band whom justice sends to apprehend 
him. Again, he will retrace every step he took yesterday, 
every gesture, every word, and will seek to convince himself 
that discovery is impossible. No one had seen him, no one 
had heard, — the wretched old man, half-crazy as he was, 
had drawn his own hat over his eyes, and drowned 
himself. 

And yet through all this sophistry, he is conscious of 
that fearful weight, till, exhausted by the inner conflict, he 
flies from his house to his business, amidst the crowd, 
anxiously desiring to find something that shall force him to 
forget. Jf any one on the street looks at him he trembles, 
if he meet a policeman, he must rush home to hide his terror 
from those discerning eyes. Wherever he finds familiar faces, 
he will press into the thick of the assembly, he will take 
an interest in anything, will laugh and talk more than 
heretofore ; but his eyes will roam recklessly around, and 
he will be in constant dread of hearing something said of 
the murdered man, something surmised about his sudden 
end. He may deceive his acquaintance — they will per- 
haps consider him remarkably cheerful, and one and the 
other will say, " Itzig is a good fellow, he is getting on 
in business." He will hang on many an arm that he 
never touched before, will tell merry stories, and go home 
gladly with any one who asks him, because he knows 
that he cannot be alone. He will frequent the coffee- 
houses and beer-shops, to hunt out acquaintance, and will 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



drink and be as much excited as tliey, because he knows 
tliat he dare not be alone. 

And when late of an evening he returns home, tired to 
death and worn out by his fearful struggle, he feels lighter 
hearted, for he has succeeded in obscuring the truth, he is 
conscious of a melancholy pleasure in his weariness, and 
awaits sleep as the only good thing earth still has to offer 
him. And again he will fall asleep, and when he awakes 
the next morning he will have to begin his fearful task 
anew. So will it be this day, next day, always, s(.> 
long as he lives. His life is no longer like that of an- 
other man, his life is henceforth a battle, a horrible battle 
with a corpse, a battle unseen by all, yet constantly going 
on. Ail his intercourse with living men, whether in busi- 
ness or in society, is but a mockery, a lie. Whether he 
laughs and shakes hands with one, or lends money and takes 
fifty per cent, from another, it is all mere illusion on their 
part. He knows that he is severed from human companion- 
ship, that all he does is but empty seeming ; there is only 
one who occupies him, against wdiom he struggles, because 
of whom he drinks, and talks, and mingles with the crowd, 
and that one is the corpse of the old man in the water. 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



347 



CHAPTER XVI. 

DESIDES all friendly house-sprites and household divini- 
ties, there is one^ other in the secret, and silently 
triumphant at Anton's return, and that is the cousin. 

Strangers indeed may shake their head at much that 
passes, but she knows better : That Anton should sit all day 
long pale and silent in the office ; — Sabine evince a ten- 
dency to blush in her brother's presence, which never 
appeared before, sit silent for hours over her w^ork, then 
silently start up and rush through the house, playful as a 
kitten after a ball of twine ; — the merchant himself keep 
constantly looking at Anton, and growing more and more 
merry from day to day, so that at last he positively rallies 
the cousin without ceasing ; — all this indeed may seem 
perplexing, but it was not so to one who had known for years 
what each of them liked best for dinner (although she only 
ventured to present the favourite dish in order, once a month), 
who had with her own hands knitted their stockings, and 
starched their collars. She accounted for all their inconsist- 
encies most naturally. 

The good lady took all the credit of Anton's return 
entirely to herself She had determined to restore her 
favourite to the office, and she had had no ulterior intention, 
at least so she declared. For, in spite of the rose-lined coverlet, 



348 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



and the embroidered curtains, she knew that the house to 
which she belonged was a proud house, ^Yhich had ways of 
its own, and required very skilful management. And, in- 
deed, when told that Anton was onl}'- to be a guest, she was 
herself in some uncertainty. But soon she got the upper 
hand of the merchant and his sister, for she made discoveries. 

Tlie second storey of the house had been uninhabited for 
years. The mercliant and his young wife had occupied it 
in the lifetime of his parents. When he had lost one after 
another, parents, wife, and baby-son, he moved to the first 
floor, and since then had seldom gone upstairs. Grey 
blinds hung down there the whole year through, the furniture 
and paintings were all covered up. In short, the whole 
storey was like an enchanted castle, and even the ladies' foot- 
steps fell softer when they were obliged to pass through tlie 
silent region. 

The cousin was coming upstairs one day. In spite of her 
endless war with Pix, she had contrived to keep one small 
room to dry linen in. She was just musing upon the change 
official life made in men s characters, for Balbus, the successor 
of Pix, on whose humble bearing slie had founded great hopes, 
fallowed himself in his new post just as aggressive as his prede- 
cessor. She had once more found a heap of cigar-boxes outside 
the three compartments which Pix had erected by main force 
in her own special domain, and she was just going to declare 
war against Balbus on their account. At that moment 
she remarked a door of the upper storey wide open, and 
thought of thieves, and of calling out for help, but upon 
consideration, judiciously determined first to investigate 
the mystery. She crept into the curtained rooms, and was 
in some danger of being petrified with amazement, when 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



she saw her nephew standing there alone, looking at u 
picture of his departed wife, taken as a bride, in white silk, 
with a myrtle-NVTeatli in her hair. The cousin could not re- 
strain a sympathizing sigh. The merchant turned round in 
amazement. " I mean to remove the picture to my own 
room," said he softly. 

" But you have another portrait of Mary there already, 
and this one has always depressed you," cried the cousin. 

" Years make us calmer," replied the merchant ; " and, 
in course of time, another bride may come here." 

The cousin's eyes flashed as she repeated "Another !" 

" It was only a passing idea," said the merchant, cheer- 
fully walking through the suite of rooms, followed by the 
cousin, proudly shrugging her shoulders. They might try 
to blind her as much as they liked ; it was all in vain. 

Neither did the cautious Sabine succeed any better. 

Anton had silently sat near the cousin at dinner. When 
he rose, the good lady remarked that Sabine's eyes rested 
with an expression of tender anxiety upon his pale face, and 
then filled with tears. As soon as he had left the room, 
she moved to the window that looked into the com't. The 
cousin crept behind her, and looked out too. Sabine was 
gazing down intently, suddenly she smiled, and her face 
was perfectly transfigured. Yet there was nothing to be 
seen but Anton, with his back towards them, caressing 
Pluto, who barked and jumped up at him. 

" Oh !" thought the cousin ; " it is not over Pluto 
that she laughs and cries at once." 

And soon after, one day that the merchant opened the 
drawing-room door, and called his sister out, the cousin 
spied a man with a great parcel standing in the liall. Her 



3o0 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



sharp eyes recognised in Lim a porter from one of the gTeat 
drapers' shops. The brother and sister went into the ante- 
room, a murmur of voices was heard, and a sound uncommonly 
like suppressed sobs. When Sabine returned, her eyes w^re 
veiy red, but she looked happy and basliful. When the 
cousin went into the ante-room, on some pretext or other, 
the great parcel was lying on a chak ; and as she touched it 
— of course accidentally — and the paper was not tied uj), 
it came to pass that she beheld its contents — a variety of ex- 
quisite dresses, and one thing that moved her to tears. It was 
that white robe of thickest silk which a woman only wears once 
in her life — on one solemn day of devout and trembling joy. 

From that moment the cousin went about her avocations 
with the comfortable confidence of a good housewife, who for- 
gives people, even though for a season they do behave them- 
selves foolishly, knowing that the end of it all will be great 
excitement in her own especial province, — hard work in the 
kitchen, a long bill of fare, great slaughter of fowls, and im- 
mense consimiption of preserved fruit. She, too, waxed mys- 
terious now. The store-room was subjected to a careful in- 
spection, and new dishes often appeared at dinner. On such 
days the cousin would come from the kitchen with veiy red 
cheeks, and look at the merchant and Sabine with an ex- 
pression which plainly said, "I have found you out ;" and 
was met with a severe glance from the master of the house. 

And yet he was no longer severe now. Sabine and 
Anton grew daily more silent and reserved, he became 
more cheerful, far less silent than of yore, was never 
weary of drawing Anton into conversation, and listened 
with intense attention to each word he spoke. There was 
still a great flatness in trade, but he did not appear to 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



351 



heed it. When Mr. Braun, the agent, poured out his oj)- 
pressed heart, he only laughed and returned a dry jest. 

Anton, however, did not observe the change. When in 
the office, he sat silently opposite Mr. Baumann, and seemed 
to think of nothing but his correspondence. The evenings 
he generally spent alone in his room, burying himself in 
the books Fink had left, and trying to escape from his 
own dark thoughts. He did not find the firm as he had 
left it. Several of its old mercantile connexions were dis- 
solved — several new ones entered into. He found new 
agents, new descriptions of goods, and new servants. 

The clerks' apartments, too, had grown silent. With the ex- 
ception of Mr. Liebold and Mr. Purzel, who had never been ex- 
citing social elements, he only found Baumann and Specht 
remaining of all his former acquaintance, and they, too, 
thought of lea\dng. Baumann had, immediately on Anton's 
return, confided to the principal that he must leave in the 
spring ; and this time Anton's earnest representations failed 
to shake the future missionary's firm resolve : — " I can no 
longer delay," said he ; " my conscience protests against it. 
I go from hence to the London Training College, and thence 
wherever they choose to send me ; I confess that I have a 
preference for Africa — there are certain kings there" — he 
pronounced several crack-jaw names — " that I cannot think 
wholly ill of. There must be some hope of conversion among 
them. I trust to wean them from that heathenish slave-trade. 
They may make use of their people at home in planting sugar- 
cane and cultivating rice. In a couple of years I will send 
you, by way of London, the first samples of our produce." 

Mr. Specht, too, came to Anton. " You have always 
been friendly to me, Wohlfart, and I should like to have 



352 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



your opinion. I am to marry a very accomplished girl ; her 
name is Fanny, and she is a niece of Pix." 

" What !" said Anton," and do you love the young lady?" 

" Yes, that I do," cried Specht enthusiastically ; " but if 
I am to marry her, I am to enter into Fix's business, and 
that is what I want your opinion about. My lady-love has 
some fortune, and Pix thinks it would be best invested in 
his firm. Now you know Pix is a good fellow at bottom, 
but another partner might suit me better." 

" I think not, my good old Specht," said Anton ; " you 
are apt to be a little too precipitate, and it would be very 
well for you to have a steady partner." 

" Yes," said Specht ; " but only think of the branches 
lie has chosen. No one could have believed it possible that 
our Pix would have taken to them." 

"What are they, then ?" asked Anton. 

" All sorts of things," cried Specht, " that he never saw 
})efore. Skins and leather, and every kind of fur, from the 
sable to the mole, and, besides, hemp and brushes; every- 
thing, in short, that is hairy and bristling. These are very 
low articles, Wohlfart." 

" Don't be a child !" replied Anton; "marry, my good 
fellow, and trust to the management of your uncle-in-law, 
it will do you no harm," 

The next day Pix himself came to Anton's room. " I 
found your card, Wohlfart ; and come to invite you to 
coffee on Sunday next. Cuba, and a Manilla ! You will 
make my wife's acquaintance." 

" And so you are going to take Specht as your partner T' 
asked Anton, smiling. " You used to have a great horror 
of partnerships." 



DEBIT AND CRPZDIT. 



353 



" I should not enter into one with any body else. 
Between ourselves, I owe the poor fellow some compensa- 
tion ; and I can make the ten thousand dollars he is 
marrying useful in my business. I have undertaken a 
retail warehouse, in which I will place him. That will 
amuse him. He can be polite to the ladies all the day 
long ; and can have a new fur coat every winter. He 
will come out much stronger there than here in the oflfice." 

" How comes it that you have chosen this branch of 
trade?" 

" I was obliged," was the reply. " 1 found a great stock 
on hand left by my predecessor in sorry plight, I can 
assure you, and was thrown all at once amongst those 
who valued hare-skins and pig's bristles exceedingly." 

"And that alone decided youT' replied Anton, laughing. 

" Perhaps something else as well," said Pix. " I 
could not remain here, on account of my wife; and you 
will admit, Anton, that I, who was manager of the pro- 
vincial department of this firm, could not open another in 
the same town of the same nature. I know the whole pro- 
vincial department better than the principal, and all small 
traders know me better than they do him. I might have 
injured this house, though my capital is so much smaller. 
I should, no doubt, have got on, but this house would 
have suffered. So I was obliged to turn to something else. 
I went to Schroter as soon as I had decided, and talked it 
over with him. I only keep one thing in common with 
you here, and that is horse-hair, and in that I beat you 
hollow, I have told the principal so." 

" The firm can bear that," said Anton, and shook the 
fur-merchant by the hand. 

VOL. II. z 



354 



DEBIT AND (^IKDIT. 



But it was not in the office only ; even among the porters 
around the great scales, a change was observable. Father 
Sturm, the faithful friend of the house, threatened to quit 
both it and this little ball of earth together. One of An- 
ton's first inquiries, on his return, had been for Father 
Sturm. He was told that Sturm had been unwell for 
some weeks, and did not leave his room. Full of anxiety, 
Anton went to the dwelling of the giant the second evening 
after his arrival. 

While still in the street, he heard a loud hum, as though 
a swarm of gigantic bees had settled in the red-painted 
house. When he entered, the hum sounded like the dis- 
tant roar of a family of lions. He knocked in amazement. 
No one answered. When he had o])ened the door he stood 
still on the threshold, for at first he could see nothing but 
a dense smoke, through which a yellow speck of light ap- 
peared, with a great halo round it. Gradually he dis- 
covered in this smoke a few rotund forms, placed around 
the candle like so many planets around the sun, and at 
times something was seen to move, possibly a man's arm, 
but not unlike an elephant's leg. At length the air through 
the open door partially cleared away the smoke, and he 
could see further into the room. Six giants sat around 
the table — three on a bench, three on oaken chairs. All 
had cigars in their mouths, and wooden beer-mugs on the 
table, and the loud hum was their speech, duly lowered to 
suit a sick-room. 

" I smell something !" cried a loud voice, at length. 
There must be a man there ; I feel a cool draught, the door 
is open. Let whoever is there say who he is !" 

" Ml'. Sturm !" cried Anton, still on the threshold. 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



355 



. The grcHi globes rapidly revolved and eclipsed the light. 
" Do you hear ?" cried the loud voice ; " a man is there." 

Yes ! and an old friend too !" replied Anton. 

I know that voice !" exclaimed some one at the other 
side the table. 

Anton drevi^ nearer ; the porters all rose and called out 
his name. 

Father Sturm moved along to the furthest end of his 
bench, and held out both his hands. " I heard from my 
comrades that you had returned. It is a joy to me that you 
are come safe and sound from that outlandish country," 

Anton's hand now passed first into that of old Sturm, 
who powerfully grasped it, and then tried to set the broken 
bones ; next into that of the other five porters, whence it 
came out red, weak, and slightly dislocated, so that he was 
glad to put it into his coat-pocket. While the five were 
exclianging greetings with him, one after the other, Sturm 
suddenly called out, " When does my Karl come ?" 

" Have you sent for him, then ?" asked Anton. 

" Sent for him ! No," returned Sturm, shaking his head, 
" that I could not do, because of his situation as bailiff" ; for 
if I were to write him word ' come,' he would come if even 
a million scythes lay in his way. But then the family 
might want him, and therefore unless he comes of his own 
accord he will not come." 

" He will come in the spring," said Anton, looking 
anxiously into the father's face. 

Old Sturm shook liis head. " He will not come in the 
spring — not to me at least. Perhaps my little manikin 
may come here, but not to his father any more." He 
raised his can of beer and took a long draught, then shut 



356 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



down the lid, cleared his throat, and looking full into Anton's 
face, solemnly rapped the table. " Fifty !" said he ; <' one 
other fortnight, and then it comes." 

Anton threw his arm round the old man's shoulders, and 
looked inquiringly at the others, who held their cigars in 
their hands and stood round like the chorus in a Greek 
tragedy. 

" Look you, Mr. Wohlfart," said the chorus-leader, who 
considered as a man was colossal, but as a giant something 
less than old Sturm. " I will explain matters to you : This 
man thinks that he is getting weaker, and shall go on get- 
ting weaker, and that in a few weeks the day will come 
when we porters must each take a lemon in our hands, and 
put a black tail on our hats. We do not wish this." All 
shook their heads here and looked disapprovingly at Sturm. 
" There is an old dispute between him and us about the age 
of fifty. He is determined to be right — that is the whole 
of it — and our opinion is that he is not right. He has be- 
come weaker — that may be. Many are stronger at one 
time, and weaker at another. Why should the man think of 
leaving this place on that account 1 I'll tell you what it is, 
Mr. Wohlfart, it is downright absurdity on his part." 

All the giants confirmed this statement by nodding their 
heads. 

" So, then, he is sick ?" inquired Anton anxiously. 
" Whereabouts is your complaint, old friend ?" 

" It is here and there," replied Sturm. " It is in the 
air — it comes on slowly — it takes first the strength, then 
the breath. It begins with the legs, and then moves up." 
He pointed to his feet. 

*' Is it a trouble to you to stand ?" asked Anton. 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



357 



That is just what it is," replied Sturm. " It is a 
sour trial, and every day more and more so ; but, Wil- 
helra," continued he, addressing the spokesman of the 
party, " in a fortnight that will be all over, and there 
will then be no more sourness, except, perhaps, a little in 
your faces for an hour or two, till evening, when you must 
come back here and sit down, and talk of old Sturm as of 
a comrade who has laid him down to rest, and who will 
never lift another burden ; for I fancy that yonder, where 
we go, there will be nothing heavy." 

" You hear him !" said William anxiously. " He is get- 
ting absurd again." 

"What says the doctor to your complaint?" suddenly 
inquired Anton. 

" The doctor !" said old Sturm, " if he were to be asked 
about me, he would have enough to say. But we do not ask 
him. Between ourselves, there is no use in a doctor. They 
may know what is the matter with many men, that I don't 
deny ; but how should they know what is the matter with 
us ? Xot one of them can lift a barrel." 

" If you have no doctor, my good Mr. Sturm," cried 
Anton, throwing open the window, " let me begin at once 
to play a doctor's part. If your breathing be oppressed, 
this close atmosphere is poison to you ; and if you suffer 
from your feet, you ought not to go on drinking." And 
he moved the beer-mug to another table. 

" Hum, hum, hum !" said Sturm, watching his proceed- 
ings ; " well meant, but of no use. A little smoke keeps 
one warm, and we are acc;ustomed to the beer. After 
I have sat on this bench all day alone, without work or 
company, it is a pleasure to me that my friends should come 



358 



"DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



and enjoy themselves with me of an evening. They talk 
to me, and I get some tidings of the business, and of what 
is going on in the world." 

" But you yourself at least might abstain from beer and 
tobacco," replied Anton ; " your Karl would tell you the 
same, and as he is away you must let me take his place." 
Then turning to the others, " I will convince him that he 
is wrong ; leave me alone with him for half an hour." 

The giants left the room. Anton sat by the invalid 
and spoke on the father's favourite topic — spoke of his son. 

Sturm forgot all his dark forebodings, and got into ex- 
cellent spirits. 

At last he turned to Anton with his eyes shut, and said 
confidentially, " Nineteen hundred dollars. He came here 
once again." 

" But you gave him nothing ?" anxiously inquired Anton. 

" Only a hundred dollars," said the old man apologeti- 
cally. "He is dead now, the poor young gentleman ! He 
looked so handsome with his epaulettes. While a man is 
a son, he ought not to die — it gives too much sorrow." 

" I have spoken of your claim to Herr von Fink," said 
Anton ; " he will see that you are paid." 

" That Karl is paid," suggested old Sturm, looking round ; 
" and you, ]\Ir. Wohlfart, will undertake to give into my boy's 
hands what remains in the chest, if I do not myself see my 
little fellow." 

" If you don't give up this idea," cried Anton, "I shall 
become your foe, and shall treat you with the greatest 
severity. Early to-morrow morning you may expect me to 
bring you Mr. Schrciter's doctor." 

" He is a worthy man, no doubt," said Sturm ; " his 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



359 



horses must be remarkably well fed, they are so fat and 
tstrong, but he can do nothing for me." 

The following morning the doctor visited the invalid. 

" I don't consider his case a serious one as yet," said he ; 

his feet are swollen, indeed, but that might soon be cured. 
However, his sedentaiy inactive life is so bad for a frame 
like his, and his diet is so unwholesome, that I am sorry to 
.«ay the sudden development of some serious complaint is 
only too likely." 

Anton immediately wrote off this opinion to Karl, and 
added, — " Under these circumstances, your father's own 
impression that he shall not survive his fiftieth birthday 
makes me very uneasy. It would be well that you should 
be with him at that time." 

Several days had now elapsed since Anton had written 
this letter, and, meanwhile, he had paid a daily visit to 
Sturm, who did not appear to change for the worse, but 
yet remained firm in his resolve of not outliving his birth- 
day. One morning a servant came to Anton's room, and 
announced that Sturm the porter urgently wished to see 
him. 

" Is he worse f inquii'ed Anton in dismay ; " I will go 
to him immediately." 

" He is at the door in a cart," said the servant. 

Anton hurried out. A carrier's cart w^as standing there ; 
with great barrel-hoops bent over the wicker-work, and 
covered by a white sheet, from which — a corner of it being 
turned back — the head of Father Sturm, ensconced in a 
colossal fur cap, appeared. He wore an anxious face, and 
as soon as he saw Anton held out a sheet of paper. 
" Read this, Mr. Wohlfart ; I have had such a letter 



360 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



from my poor Karl ! I must go to him at once. To the 
estate beyond Rosmin," he added to the driver, a burly 
carrier who stood by the vehicle. 

Anton looked at the letter ; it was written in the forester's 
clumsy characters, and the contents amazed him, " My 
dear father, I cannot come to you, for a scythe-man has cut 
off the remainder of my hand. On which account I beg you, 
as soon as you get this, to set out to your poor son. You 
must take a large conveyance and drive to Rosmin. There 
you must stop at the Red Deer. A carriage and a servant 
from the estate will be waiting for you. The servant does 
not understand a word of German, but he is a good fellow, 
and will know you when he sees you. You must buy your- 
self a fur for the journey, and fur boots which must come 
above your knees, and be lined with leather. If you can't 
find any large enough for your great legs, god-father 
Kiirschner must, during the night, sew a skin over your 
feet. Greet Mr. Wohlfart from me. — ^Your faithful Karl," 

Anton held the letter in his hand, not exactly knowing 
what to make of it, 

" What do you say to this new misfortune?" asked the 
giant mournfully. 

" At all events you must go to your son at once," wa« 
Anton's reply. 

" Of course I must," said the porter ; " this blow comes 
heavily upon me just now, the day after to-morrow I shall 
be fifty." 

The meaning of the letter now flashed upon Autou. 
" Are you accoutred according to Karl's directions ?" 

" I am," said the giant, throwing back the linen cover- 
ing ; " all is right, the fur and the boots too." 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



361 



Anton looked in and had some trouble to preserve his 
gravity. Sturm looked like a pre-Adamic bear of colossal 
dimensions. A great sword leaned against the seat. 
" Against those scythe-men !" said he, angrily shaking it. 
" I have still one other request to make you. Wilhelm 
has got the key of my house ; will you take charge of this 
box ? it holds what was formerly under my bed. Keep it 
for Karl." 

" I will give it into Mr. Schroter's care," replied Anton ; 
" he is just gone to the railway station, and may be back 
any moment." 

" Greet him from me," said the giant ; " greet him and 
Miss Sabine, and tell them both how heartily I thank them 
for all the friendliness they have shown to Karl and me." 
He looked in with emotion at the ground-floor. " Many 
a happy year I have worked away there, and if the rings 
on the hundred-weights are well polished, these hands have 
done their part to make them so. I have shared the fate 
of this house for thirty years, good and bad, and I can tell 
you, Mr. Wohlfart, we were always wide awake. I shall 
roll your barrels no more," continued he, turning to the 
servants ; " and some one else will help you to unload the 
wagons. Think often of old Sturm when you fasten up 
a sugar-cask. Nothing here below can last for ever, not 
even the strongest ; but this firm, Mr. Wohlfart, will stand 
and flourish so long as it has a chief like Mr. Schroter, and 
men like you, and good hands below there at the great 
scales. This is my heart's wish." He folded his hands, and 
tears rolled down his cheeks. " And now farewell, Mr. 
Wohlfart ! give me your hand ; and farewell, Peter, Franz, 
Gottfried ! — all of you, think kindly of me. To Rosmin, 



362 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



driver I The cart rolled awcay over the pavement, the sheet 
opening once more, and Sturm's great head emerging for a 
last look and wave of the hand. 

Anton was exceedingly anxious about him for a few 
days, when a letter came, in Karl's own hand. 

" Dear Mr. Wohlfart," wrote Karl, " you will of course 
have seen why I sent that last note to my Goliath. I had 
to get him out of that room, and to drive that notion about 
his birthday out of his head. So in my anxiety, I hazarded 
a white lie. Tliis is how it all came about : — 

" The day before his birthday, the servant was waiting 
for him at the Red Deer in Rosmin. I had ridden over there 
myself to see how my father got on, and how he looked. 
But I kept myself out of sight. About mid-day, the cart 
came slowly rumbling up. The driver helped my father 
out — for he had great difficulty in moving — which at first 
gave me a fright about his legs ; but it was really mainly 
owing to the fur-boots and the jolting. On the street the 
old boy took out a letter, and read it. Then he went up 
to Jasch, who had run to the cart, and who had to pre- 
tend that he did not understand a word of German, and 
])egan to make all manner of alarming gesticulations. He 
held his hand two feet above the pavement, and when the 
servant shook his head, the governor stooped down to the 
ground. This was meant to signify, " My manikin ! " but 
as Jasch failed to understand it, my father caught hold of 
one hand with the other, and shook it so violently under 
Jasch's nose, that the servant, who, without this, was 
frightened at the great creature, was near taking to his 
heels. At length my father and his effects were packed into 
a spring-cart, he having several times walked round, and 



DEBIT AND (CREDIT. 



363 



shaken it rather mistrustfully. Then he drove off. I had 
told the servant to drive straight to the forester's, with 
whom I had planned everything. As for me, I had gone 
there by a by-path ; and as soon as the wagon arrived in the 
evening, I slipped into the forester's bed, and had my hand 
tied down under the clothes for fear I should stretch it out 
in my delight. When the old gentleman reached my bed- 
side, he was so moved that he wept, and it went to my 
heart to be obliged to cheat him. I told him that I was 
better already, and that the doctor would allow me to get 
up on the morrow. • This quieted him ; and he said with 
a most solemn mien, that he was glad of that, for that the 
morrow was a great day for him, and that he must then 
take to his bed. And so he went on with his nonsense. 
But not long. He soon got cheerful. The forester joined 
us, and we made a very good supper on what the young 
lady had sent us from the castle. I gave the old boy beer, 
which he pronounced execrable ; whereupon the forester 
made some punch, and we all three drank heartily — I with 
my amputated hand, my father with, his melancholy fore- 
bodings, and the forester. ^Vhat with the long journey, 
the warm room, and the punch, my father soon got sleepy 
(I had had a strong bedstead placed in the forester's room) ; 
he kissed my head as he wished me good-night, tapped 
the quilt, and said, ' To-morrow, then, my manikin ! ' He 
was asleep in a moment ; and how he slept to be sure ! 1 
got out of the forester's bed, and watched every breath he 
drew. It was a weary night. The next morning he woke 
late. As soon as he began to stir, the forester came in, 
clapping his hands at the door, and exclaiming over and 
over again, ' Wliy, Mr. Sturm, what have you done ' 



364 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



'What have I done?' asked ray Goliath, still half-asleep, 
aud looking round in amazement. The birds were scream- 
ing very loud, and everything looked so strange to him, he 
hardly knew if he was still on earth or not. ' W^^^^^ ^™ 
IV cried he; 'this place is not in the Bible:' However, 
the forester went on exclaiming, ' No ; such a thing never 
was heard of before !' till the old man was quite alarmed, 
and anxiously asked what it was. ' What you have done, 
Mr. Sturm!' cried the forester; 'why, you have slept a 
night, and then a day, and then another night ! ' ' How 
soV said my old boy; 'to-day is Wednesday the 13th.' 
' No such thing,' affirmed the forester. ^ To-day is the 
14th : it is Thursday.' So they went on disputing. At 
last the forester took out his pocket-book, on which he 
strikes out each day as it passes, and there was a great 
stroke over Wednesday; and on Tuesday he had put down 
as a memorandum, ' To-day, at seven o'clock, the bailiff"s 
father arrived: a very tall man, can drink plenty of 
punch ;' and on Wednesday, 'The bailiff's father has been 
asleep the whole day through.' Having read this, my 
governor got quite composed, and said, ' It's all correct : 
here we have it in black and white. Tuesday, I arrived 
at seven — a tall man — plenty of punch ; all this tallies. 
Wednesday is past. This is Thursday — this is the 14th.' 
After some musing, he cried, 'Where is my son Karlf 
Then I entered, my arm bound up, and told the same tale 
as the forester, till he said, ' I am like one bewitched ; I 
don't know what to think.' ' Why, don't you see,' said I, 
' that I am out of bed? Yesterday, when you were asleep, 
the doctor came, and gave me leave to get up. Now I am 
BO well, that I can lift this chair with my stiff ann.' ' No 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



365 



more weights,' said the old man. Then I went on : * I spoke 
of your case too to the doctor. He is a skilful man, and told 
us one of two things woidd happen : Either you would go 
off, or sleep through it. If he sleeps throughout the day,"' 
said he, he will get over it. It's a serious crisis. Such 
things will happen sometimes' — ' To us porters,' chimed in 
the old man. And so it was that we got him out of his 
bed; and he was very cheerful. But I was anxious all 
day long, and never left him. At noon all was nearly lost, 
when the farmer came in to speak to me. Luckily, though, 
the forester had locked the yard-door, and so he went 
out and gave the farmer a hint. As soon as the latter 
came in, my father called out, ' "V\liat day is it, comrade 1 ' 
'Thursday,' said the farmer, 'the 14th;' at which my 
father's whole face broke out into a laugh, and he cried, 
' Now it's certain ! now I believe it ! ' However, he slept 
at the forester's that night, too, that we might get the 
birthday well over. 

"The next day I took my father to the farm-yard, to the 
room next mine. I had had it hastily furnished for him. 
Herr von Fink, who knew all about it, sent some good 
stout things from the castle ; I had his old Blucher hung 
up, let in some robin-redbreasts, and put in a joiner's bench, 
and a few tools, that he might feel comfortable. So I said, 
' This is your room, father ; you must stay with me now.' 
* No !' said he ; ' that will never do, my manikin.' 
' There is no help for it,' I replied ; ' Herr von Fink will 
have it so, Mr. Wohlfart will have it so, Mr. Schroter will 
have it so ; you must give way. We won't part again as 
long as we are on earth.' And then drew my hand out 
of its bandages, and gave him such a fine lecture about his 



36G 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



unheulthy way of life, and his fancies, that he got quite soft, 
and said all manner of kind things to me. Next came Herr 
von Fink, and welcomed him in his own merry way ; and 
in the afternoon, our young lady brought the Baron in. The 
poor blind gentleman was (juite delighted with my father : 
he liked his voice much, felt him all over, and as he went 
away, called him a man after his own heart. And so he 
must be, for the Baron has come every afternoon since to 
my father's little room, and listened to his sawing and 
hamraering. 

" My father is still a good deal perplexed at all he sees 
here, and he is not quite clear about that day he is said 
to have slept, though he must be up to it too, for ever 
since, he often catches me by the head, and calls me a 
rascal. This word now replaces ' dwarf ' and ' manikin ' 
in his talk, although it is a still worse appellation for a 
bailiff. He is going to be a wheel-wright, and has been 
(jutting out spokes all day. I am only afraid he will work 
too hard. I rejoice to have him here, and if he once gets 
over the winter, he will soon walk off the weakness in his 
feet. He means to sell the little house, but only to a 
porter. He begs that you will offer it to Wilhelm, who 
now rents one, and say, that he shall have it cheaper than 
a stranger. 



DEBIT AND CREDH'. 



367 



CHAPTER XVIL 



WEEK after the death of Hippus, Anton was sitting in 



his own room, writing to Fink. He was telling him, 
that the lawyer's corpse had been taken out of the river at 
the wear at the end of the town, and that the cause of liis 
death was uncertain. A child belonging to the house in 
which the wretched man lived, had told that, on the even- 
ing of the search made by the police, Hippus had been met 
in the street, near his own dwelling ; since then, nothing 
had been seen of him. Under these circumstances suicide 
did not appear unlikely. However, the police were of 
opinion that the crushed hat afforded evidence of violence. 
No papers had been found at his dwelling, and a second 
search had been made there without results. Anton gave 
it as his own opinion respecting the fearful event, that Itzig 
was in some way connected with it. 

At that moment the door was opened, the Galician liastily 
entered the room, and without speaking a word, laid an old 
pair of spectacles, set in rusty steel, on the table, before 
Anton, who looking at the agitated face before him, sprang 
from his seat. 

" His spectacles," hoarsely whispered Tinkeles ; "I found 




368 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



them close to the water. Just God ! that any one should 
have such a fright as that I" 

" Whose spectacles are they, and where did you fiiid 
them?" inquired Anton, guessing at what the Galiciaii 
lacked strength to tell, and looking with horror at the dim 
glasses before him. " Compose yourself, Tinkeles, and 
speak." 

" It cannot remain concealed, it cries to Heaven !" said 
Tinkeles, in great excitement. " You shall hear how it 
came to pass. Two days after I had spoken with you 
about the two hundred dollars, I went in the evening to 
the sleeping-room at Lcibel Pinkus's. As I entered the court 
a man ran against me in the dark. I thought, Is that Itzig, 
or is it not 1 I said to myself. It is Itzig ; that is his nm 
when he mns in haste. When I got up into the large 
room, it was empty, and I sat down at the table, and looked 
into my pocket-book. And as I sat there, the wind rose 
outside, and there was a knocking in the gallery, as if some 
one was knocking who wanted to get in, and could not 
open a door. I was frightened, and put up my letters, 
and cried : * If any one is there, let him say so.' No one 
answered, but the knocking went on all the time. Then I 
summoned up courage, took up the lamp, and went into 
the gallery, and searched every room. I could see no one. 
And again, there was the knocking close to me, and then a 
great crack, and a door flew open, which had never been 
open before, and from the door steps led down to the water. 
When I put the lamp near the steps, I saw that a wet foot 
had come up them, and the marks of it were to be seen 
all the way to the room — wet spots on the floor. And I 
marvelled, and said to myself : ' Schmeie,' said I ; ' who has 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



369 



gone by night out of the water, into the room, leaving the 
door open, like a spirit?' Ajid I was afraid ; and before 
I closed the door, I once more looked along the steps with 
the lamp, and then I saw something sparkle in the light 
close to the water, on the last step of all, and I ventured 
down one step after the other : woe is me, Mr. Wohlfart, 
it was a hard task ! The wind howled, and blew my lamp 
about, and the staircase became as dark as a well ; and 
that which I picked up is yonder" — pointing to the spec- 
tacles — " the glasses that he wore before his eyes." 

" And how do you know that they are the dead man's 
spectacles ?" asked Anton in painful suspense. 

" I know them by the joint, which is tied round with 
black worsted. I have often seen him in Pinkus's room 
with those spectacles on. So I hid the spectacles, and 
thought to myself that I would say nothing about them to 
Pinkus, but give them mj^self to Hippus, and see whether 
he could be of use to me in business. I carried about 
the glasses till to-day, expecting to see him ; and when 
he did not come, I asked Pinkus for him, and he answered 
— ' I know not where he is hiding.' And to-day, at noon, 
as I entered the inn, Pinkus came running towards me, and 
said — ' Schmeie,' said he, ' if you want to speak to Hippus, 
you'll have to go into the water ; he has been found in the 
water !' It went through me like a shot when he said 
this, and I had to hold on by the wall." 

Anton went to his writing-table, dashed off a few lines 
to the detective, who had not long left him, rang the bell, 
and desired the servant to take the note in all haste. 

Meanwhile Tinkeles had sunk down on a chair, and 
kept muttering unintelligibly. 

VOL. II. 2 a 



370 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



Anton, scarcely less agitated, paced up and down the 
room. At last the silence was broken by the Galician 
raising his voice, and inquiring — " Do not you think that 
the spectacles will be worth the hundred dollars you have 
for me in your writing-desk 1 " 

" I don't know," curtly replied Anton, continuing to 
pace up and down, Schmeie relapsed into exhaustion and 
silence. At length he looked up again and said — "At 
least fifty ?" 

"None of your bargaining at present," replied Anton 
dryly. 

"Why nof?" cried Tinkeles in dudgeon. "I have had 
a great fright ; is that to go for nothing V And he was 
again absorbed in distress. 

The interview was interrupted by the appearance of the 
detective. This experienced officer made the Galician re- 
peat his tale, took the spectacles, ordered a coach for him- 
self and the reluctant Tinkeles, and said to Anton as he 
left, " Prepare for a sudden clearing-up ; whether I shall 
carry out my purpose, is still uncertain, but there is a 
prospect for you of finding the documents you seek." 

"At wdiat a cost !" cried Anton, shuddering. 

The drawing-room in Ehrenthal's house was brilliantly lit 
up, and through the drawn curtain, a slight glimmer fell 
upon the small rain that sank down like mist on the streets. 
Several rooms were opened, heavy silver candelabra stood 
about, bright tea-services, gay sets of porcelain ; everything 
in the house had been brushed up, washed, and displayed, 
the dark floor had been newly v/axed, even the cook had a 
newly plaited cap, in short, the wdiole house was renovated. 
The fair Rosalie stood in the midst of all this si)lendour, in 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



371 



a dress of yellow silk, trimmed with purjile flowers, gorgeous 
as a hoiiri of Paradise, and, like them, prepared to receive 
her elect. Her mother smoothed the thick folds of her 
dress, looked triumphantly at her, and said, in a transport 
of motherly love, " How beautiful you are to-day, Rosalie, 
my only child !" 

But Eosalie was too much accustomed to this admiration 
to heed it, and went on trying to fasten a bracelet on her 
round arm. " It was really too bad of Itzig to bring me tur- 
quoises ; he ought to have known that they are out of 
fashion." 

" They are very handsomely set," said her mother sooth- 
ingly. " The gold is massive, and the pattern quite new." 

" And where is Itzig ? To-day, at least, he ought to 
come early ; the relatives will all be here before the bride- 
groom !" said Rosalie complainingly. 

" He w^iU be here in time," repKed Itzig's patroness. 
" You know how he toils and moils that you may have a 
brilliant establishment. You are fortunate," said she with 
a sigh ; " you are now entering upon life, and you will be 
a lady of consequence. You must go to the capital for a 
few weeks after your marriage to spend the honeymoon 
quietly, and be introduced to my relations ; and, meanwhile, 
I shaU have this storey furnished for you, and will move 
up-stairs, and spend the rest of my life in nursing Ehrenthal." 

" Will my father make his appearance to-day ? " inquired 
RosaUe. 

" He must do so on account of our relations. He must 
pronounce the paternal blessing upon you." 

"He is sure to bring disgrace upon us, and to talk 
nonsense again !" said the dutiful daughter. 



372 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



I have told him what he is to say," answered her 
mother ; " and he nodded, to show that he understood me." 

The bell rang, the door opened, and company appeared. 
The room soon filled. Ladies in gorgeous gold-embroidered 
silk dresses, with sparkling chains and ear-rings, occupied 
the large sofa and arm-chairs around. They were mostly 
large in figure, with here and there a pair of lustrous eyes, 
and a set of handsome features. They looked like a gay 
tulip-bed out of which the gardener has rooted every sober- 
coloured flower. Behind them stood the gentlemen, with 
cunning faces, and hands in their pockets — altogether 
much less imposing and agreeable to behold. Thus all the 
company waited for the bridegroom, who still delayed his 
coming. 

At length he appeared. His eyes wandered suspiciously 
around ; his voice faltered as he accosted his betrothed. 
He strove to the utmost to find some polite words to say 
to the beautiful girl, and could almost himself have 
laughed savagely at the blank he felt within. He did not 
see her brilliant eyes, her gorgeous bust, and magnificent 
attire. Even when at her side, he was obliged to think of 
something else — of that of which he was always thinking. 
He soon turned away from her and joined the gentlemen, who 
became more conversable after his arrival. A few common- 
place observations, made by the younger men, were heard 
from time to time ; such as, " Miss Kosalie looks enchant- 
ingly beautiful !" and, " I wonder whether Ehrenthal will 
appear!" and, "This long continuance of fog is unusual, 
and veiy unhealthy — ^one is obliged to wear flannel." At 
length some one uttered the words, " Four-and-a-half per 
c;ent." There was an end of detached remarks, a subject of 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



.373 



conversation liad been found. Itzig was one of the loudest, 
gesticulating on all sides. They spoke of the funds ; of 
wool ; of the failure of a money-broker who had over- 
speculated in paper. The ladies were forgotten ; and, 
being quite accustomed to it on such occasions, they 
solemnly held their tea-cups in their hands, smoothed the 
folds of their dresses, and moved their throats and arms so 
as to make their bracelets and chains sparkle in the light. 

The conversation was now interrupted by a strange 
sound : a door was opened, and in the midst of profound 
silence, a heavy armvchair was rolled into the room. 

In the arm-chair sat an old, white-haired man, with a 
fat, swollen face, with staring eyes, bent frame, and arms 
supinely hanging down. It was Hirsch Ehrenthal, the im- 
becile. The chair l^eing rolled into the midst of the assem- 
bly, he looked slowly round, nodded, and repeated over 
and Over again the words he had been taught : " Good- 
evening ; good-evening." His wife now bent over him, and 
raising her voice, said in his ear, "Do you know the com- 
pany here assembled? They are our relatives," 

" I know," nodded the figure ; " it is a soiree. They all 
went to a great soiree, and I remained alone in my room, 
and I sat on his bed. Where is Bernhard, that he does not 
come to his old father?" 

The guests who had surrounded the arm-chair now re- 
treated in confusion ; and the lady of the house again 
screamed in the old man's ear, " Bernhard is travelling, but 
your daughter Rosalie is here." 

" Travelling ?" mournfully inquired the old man. " How 
can he be travelling? I wanted to buy him a horse, that 
he might ride it. I wanted to buy him an estate, that he 



374 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



might live on it, like a respectable man, as he always was. 
I know," he cried, " when I last saw him, he was in bed. 
He lay on a bed, and he raised his clenched hand, and 
shook it at his father ! " 

" Come here, Eosalie," cried her mother, distressed at 
these reminiscences. "When your father sees you, my 
child, he will have other thoughts." 

Rosalie approached, and spreading out her handkerchief, 
knelt down before the arm-chair. "Do you know me, 
father ?" she cried. 

" I know you," said the old man. " You are a woman. 
Why should a woman lie on the earth? Give me my 
praying-cloak, and speak the prayer. I will kneel in your 
place, for a long night has come upon us. When it is past, 
we will kindle the lights, and will eat. It will be time to 
put on gay garments then. Why do you wear gay gar- 
ments now, when the Lord is wroth with the congregation ? " 
He began to murmur a prayer, and again collapsed. 

Rosalie rose impatiently ; and her mother said in much 
embarrassment, "He is worse to-day than he has ever 
heen. I wished your father to be present at his daughter's 
betrothal, but I see that he cannot perform the duties of 
the head of the family. I have, then, in my character of 
mother, to make a happy announcement to the company 
assembled. Then solemnly taking her daughter's hand, she 
said, " Draw nearer, Itzig." 

Hitherto, Itzig had silently stood with the rest, and 
stared at the old man, from time to time shrugging his 
shoulders, and shaking his head over the melancholy spec- 
tacle, as became his position in the family. But there was 
another form present before his eyes : he knew better than 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



375 



any who it was that wailed and groaned ; he knew too 
who had died, and had not forgiven. Mechanically he 
advanced, his eyes still fixed on Ehrenthal. The guests 
now formed a circle around him and Rosalie, and her 
mother took his hand. 

Then the old man in the arm-chair began again. 
"Hush!" said he distinctly; "there he stands — the in- 
visible. We go home from the burial, and he dances among 
the women. He will strike down all he looks upon. 
There he stands !" he screamed, and rose from his chair. 
" There ! there ! Throw down your water-jars and fly into 
the house ; for he who stands there is cursed of the Lord. 
Cursed ! " he screamed, and clenching his hands he tottered 
like a madman towards Itzig. 

Itzig's face grew ghastly ; he tried to laugh, but his 
features quivered with fear. Suddenly the door was opened, 
and his errand-boy looked anxiously into the room. One 
glance sufficed to tell Itzig all that the youth had to say. 
He was discovered — he was in danger. He sprang to the 
door and disappeared. 

Lay aside your bridal attire, fair Rosalie ; throw off the 
turquoise bracelet. For you there is no betrothal — no mar- 
riage feast ! Soon you will leave the town with drooping 
head, glad, by flying amongst strangers, to escape the mockery 
of cruel hearts at home. The gold that your father heaped 
up for his children by usury and fraud, will again roll from 
hand to hand, will serve good and bad alike, will swell 
the mighty tide of wealth by which human life is sustained 
and adorned, peoples and states made great and powerful, 
and individuals, strong or weak, each according to his work. 

Without, the night was dark, small rain was falling, and 



376 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



the air was chill. Itzig rushed down the steps. A trem- 
bling voice called out after him, " The police are in the 
house, they are breaking open the room-door." He heard 
no more, a horrible dread filled his soul. Thought after 
thought passed through his brain with delirious rapidity. 
He felt his pocket, in which he had for the last week kept 
a large sum of money. It was not the hour of departure of 
any train that would take him to the sea ; and at all the 
stations he would be watched for. He ran along through 
narrow streets in remote parts of the tov.Ti, turning back 
whenever he got near a lamp — his pace increasingly rapid, 
his thoughts increasingly confused. At last his strength 
failed him, and he cowered down in a corner to collect him- 
self. But soon he heard a watchman's hollow horn sound 
near him. Here too was danger. Again he rushed on- 
ward to the one and only place that stood out clearly de- 
fined in his thoughts — the place he shuddered at, yet turned 
to as a last refuge. As he neared the inn he saw a dark 
shadow at the door. The little lawyer had often stood 
there in the dark, waiting for Veitel's return. Was he 
standing there now and waiting 1 The wretched fugitive 
started back, then approached — the door was free, he stepped 
in, but the shadow rose again behind him and stood at the 
door. Veitel took off his boots and crept up-stairs, groped 
in the dark for a room-door, opened it with trembling hand, 
and took down a bunch of keys from the wall, with which 
he hurried to the gallery, - hearing, as if at a great 
distance, the long-drawn breath of sleeping men. He 
stood at the door of the staircase, a violent shudder con- 
vulsed him as he went down step after step. When he 
first put his foot into the water he heard a lamentable 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



377 



groan. He clung to the bannisters as that other had done, 
and looked down. Agam there was a groan, and he now 
found out it was only his own breathing. He felt the depth 
of the water with his foot. It had risen since that time — it 
was higher than his knee, but he found a footing and stood 
safely in the stream. 

The night was dark, the rain still came down, the mist 
hung thick over the houses — a gable, a paling, peeping out 
here and there ; the water rushed along, the only sound 
to break the silence of the night, and in this man's ear 
it roared like thunder. He felt all the torments of the 
lost, while wading on and groping for his way. He had 
to cling to the slippery palings, in order not to sink. He 
reached the staircase of the next house, felt in his pockets 
for the key — one swing round the corner, and his foot 
would be on the lowest step. Just as he was about to 
turn he started back, his raised foot fell into the water ; 
he saw a dark stooping figure on the staircase. There it 
sat motionless. He knew the outline of the old hat ; dark 
as it was, he could see the ugly features of the w^ell-known 
face. He wiped his eyes, he waved his hands to dispel it ; 
it was no illusion, the spectre sat there a few steps ofiF. At 
length the horrible thing stretched out a hand towards him. 
The murderer started back, his foot slipped off the platform, 
he fell up to his neck in water. There he stood in the 
stream, the wind howling over him, the water rushing 
ever louder and louder. He raised his hands, his eyes still 
fixed upon the vision. Slowly it rose from its seat — it 
moved along the platform, it stretched out its hand. He 
sprang back horror-stricken into the stream — a fall, a loud 



378 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



scream, the short drowning struggle, and all was over. 
The stream rolled on and carried the corpse away. 

Tliere was a stir along the river's edge ; torches flared, 
arms glistened, loud shouts were heard, and from the foot 
of the steps a man waded into the water and exclaimed, 
" He was gone before I could reach him ! To-inorrow we 
shall find him at the wear." 



DEBIT AxND CREDIT. 



379 



CHAPTER XYIII. 



rpHE tavern of Lobel Pinkiis was thoroughly searched, 
the secret stores in the next house brought to light, 
and several stolen goods of new and old date being therein 
found, the tavern-keeper himself was sent to prison. Amongst 
the things thus discovered was the Baron's empty casket, 
and, in the secret door of a locked-up press, the missing 
notes-of-hand, and both the deeds of mortgage. In Itzig's 
house a document was found, by which Pinkus declared 
Veitel possessor of the first mortgage of twenty thousand, 
Pinkus's obdurate nature being a good deal softened by the 
search, he confessed what he had no longer any interest 
in denying, that he had been commissioned by Veitel to pay 
the money to the Baron, and that the sum only amounted 
to about ten thousand dollars ; so the Baron recovered his 
claim to the half of the first mortgage. Pinkus was sen- 
tenced to long imprisonment. The mysterious tavern was 
given up ; and Tinkeles, who had, immediately upon Veitel's 
death, demanded his second hundred dollars from Anton, 
carried his bundle and his caftan to another retreat. His 
friendly feeUngs for the firm of T. 0. Schroter had been so 
quickened by the late occurrences, that they had to be on 
their guard, and to decline some weighty commercial trans- 



380 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



actions on which he was most anxious that they should enter 
with him. The natural consequence of their shyness was, 
to impress Tinkeles with their wisdom, and he continued to 
frequent the counting-house, without, by any further auda- 
cious speculations, hazarding its favour. Pinkus's house 
was sold to a worthy dyer, and blue and black wool were 
seen hanging down from the gallery over which Yeitel's 
haggard form had so often leant. 

After long discussions with the attorney and the humbled 
Ehrenthals, Anton received the notes-of-hand and the last 
mortgage, in return for a payment of twenty thousand 
dollars. 

Meanwhile the sale of the family property came on. A 
purchaser sought out Anton even before the term, and 
arrangements were made which more than insured the cover- 
ing of all mortgages. 

The day after the term, Anton wrote to the Baroness, 
inclosing the Baron's notes-of-hand. He sealed up the 
letter with the cheerful feeling that out of all the wreck 
and ruin, he had saved for Lenore a dowry of about thirty 
thousand dollars. 

The white snow again lay heavy on the Polish castle, 
and the crows left the print of their feet on its roof. 
Winter's holiday robes were spread over wood and field, 
the earth was hushed in deepest slumber, no sheep-dog 
barked in the meadows, the farming implements were all 
laid by ; and yet there was life and animation on the estate, 
and workmen we're busy in the second storey with foot-rule 
and saw. The ground was uneven in the farm-yard, for 
the foundation of a new building had been dug ; and in the 
rooms around, and even out in the sunshine, workmen from 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



381 



the town — ^joiners, whecl-wrights, and cabinetmakers — were 
busily employed. They whistled cheerily at their work, 
and the yellow shavings flew far and wide. New energies, 
in short, are visible in all directions, and when spring comes, 
a colony of labourers will spread over the country, and force 
the long dormant soil to yield the fruits of industry. 

Father Sturm sat in his warm room, hammering away. 

Opposite him, in the only cushioned chair, reclined the 
blind Baron, staff" in hand, listening intently. 

" You must be tired, Sturm," said the Baron. 

" Nay," cried the giant ; " my hands are as strong as ever, 
and this is only a small barrel for rain-water — mere child's 
work." 

" He once hid in a little barrel," said the Baron to him- 
self " He was a delicate child. His nurse had put him 
in to bathe him, and he had bent his back and knees in 
such a way that he could not get out. I was obliged to 
have the hoops knocked off, to extricate the boy from his 
prison." 

The giant cleared his throat. " Were they iron hoops ?" 
he asked sympathizingly. 

" It was my son," said the Baron, his features quiver- 
ing. 

" Yes," whispered Sturm; " he was stately, he was a 
handsome man, it was a pleasure to hear his sword rattle, 
and to see how he twisted his little beard." Alas ! how 
often he had said this before to the blind father. 

" It A\'as the will of Heaven !" said the Baron, folding his 
hands. 

" It was," repeated old Sturm. " Our Lord God chose 
to take him when at his best. Tliat was an honour ; and 



382 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



no man could leave the world more beautifully. It was for 
his parents and his fatherland that he put on his coat with 
epaulets, and he was ^ictorious, and driving those Poles 
before him, when the Lord called out his name and en- 
rolled him in his own guard." 

" But I must remain behind," said the Baron. 

"And I rejoice that I, too, have seen our young master," 
continued Sturm more fluently ; " for you know that he 
was our young master then. You trusted my Karl with 
the whole management of the farm, and so it was an honour 
for me to be able to show that I trusted your son." 

" It was wrong of him to borrow money from you," said 
the Baron, shaking his head. And this he said, because he 
had often heard old Sturm's comforting reply, and longed to 
hear it again. 

The giant laid his tool aside, ran his hand through his 
hair, and tried to look very bold, as he began in a light- 
hearted tone, "Do you know, sir, that one must make 
allowance for a young gentleman ? Youth will be wild. 
Many have to borrow money in their young days, particularly 
when they wear such a beautiful coat, with silver fringe upon 
it. We were no niggards either. Baron," he continued depre- 
catingly, gently tapping the blind man's knee with his tool. 
" And the young officer was very polite, and I believe that 
he was somewhat basliful. And when I gave him the 
money, I could see how sorry he was to want it. I gave 
it him all the more readily. Then when I helped him into 
the drosky, and he leant out of the carriage, I can assure 
you he was much moved, and reached out both of his little 
hands to clasp my fist, and shake it once more. And while 
he was sitting there, the light fell on his face — a sweet, kind 



DEBIT AND CKEDIT. 



383 



face it was at that moment, something like yours, and still 
more like the Baroness, as far as I have been able to see 
her." 

The blind man, too, stretched out his hands to grasp the 
porter s fist. Sturm pushed his bench forward, took the 
Baron's hands in his right one, and stroked them with his 
left. Both sat silent, side by side. 

At last the Baron began with broken voice to say, " You 
were the last who showed kindness to my Eugene. I thank 
you for it from my inmost heart. An unfortunate, broken- 
down man thanks you. So long as I live, I shall implore 
the blessing of the Most High on your head. My son will 
never support my feeble footsteps in my old age, but 
Heaven has preserved a good son to you. All the blessings 
that I wished for my poor Eugene, I now pray to God may 
be the portion of your Karl." 

Sturm wiped his eyes, and then clasped the Baron's 
hands again. The two fathers sat together in silence, till, 
with a sigh, the Baron rose. Sturm carefully took his 
arm, and led him through yard and meadow to the castle- 
terrace. For there is a road now up to the tower — a road 
with a stone parapet, and the door can be reached by car- 
riages, and on foot. Sturm rings the bell, the Baron's 
valet hurries down, and leads his master up the steps, for 
Father Sturm still finds a staircase hard work. 

Meanwhile, a carriage stops in the farm-yard. Karl 
respectfully hurries from his room, and the new proprietor 
jumps down. 

" Good-day, sergeant," cried Fink ; " how goes it in the 
castle, and on the farm ? How are the Friiulein and 
Baroness ?" 



384 



DEBIT A^'D CREDIT. 



" All right," reported Karl ; " oiily the Baroness is very 
feeble. We have been expecting you for a week past. 
The family have been daily asking whether there were any 
tidings of you." 

" I was detained," said Fink ; " and perhaps I should 
not be back now, but that, since this fall of snow, there is 
is no judging of land. I have bought Dobrowitz." 

"Zounds !" cried Karl in delight. 

" Capital ground," continued Fink ; " five hundred acres 
of wood, in which the manure lies nearly a foot deep. Ih 
the Polish hole close by, which they call a town, the Jews 
thronged like ants, when they heard that henceforth our 
spurs would jingle daily over their market-place. I say, 
bailiff, you will be delighted when you see the new pro- 
perty. I have a great mind to send you over there next 
spring. But what have you there ? a letter from Anton. 
Let's have it." He hastily tore it open. " Is the Fraulein 
in the castle ?" 

"Yes, Herr von Fink." 

" Very well. A messenger goes this evening to Neudorf ;" 
and with rapid step, he hurried into the house. 

Lenore sat in her room sewing, with a good deal of cut- 
out linen round her. She diligently passed her needle 
through the stiff cloth, sometimes stretching the seam on 
her knee, smoothing it with her thimble, and looking 
doubtfully to see whether each individual stitch was small 
and even. Then that rapid footstep was heard in the pas- 
sage, and springing up, she comnilsively pressed her work 
together. But she composed herself by a mighty effort, 
and sat down again to her task. He knocked at her door. 
A deep blush spread slowly over her face, and her " Come 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



in I" hardly reached her guest's ear. As Fink entered, he 
glanced with some curiosity around the 2:>lainly-furnished 
room, which had a few chalk drawings by Lenore on tlu^ 
walls, but nothing else, except absolutely necessary furni- 
ture. Even the little panther-skin sofa was gone. 

When Fink bowed before her, she inquired in a tone of 
indifference, "Have you been detained by anythini;- un- 
pleasant ? we were all uneasy about you." 

"A property that I have bought interfered with my 
return. I come now in all haste to report myself to my 
mistress ; and, at the same time, I bring a packet which 
Anton has sent for the Baroness. If she feels sufficiently 
well to see me, will you prepare her to do so ?" 

Lenore took the letter. " I will go immediately to my 
mother; pray excuse me," and slightly bending, she tried 
to pass him. 

Fink waved her back, and said jokingly, " I find you 
most housewifely busy with needle and scissors. Who is the 
happy one for whom you are sewing those wedge-shapeil 
pieces together ] " 

Lenore blushed again. " Gentlemen must not inquire 
into the mysteries of feminine work," said she. 

" I know, however, that the thimble did not usually stand 
high in your favour," said Fink good-humouredly. " Is it 
necessary, dear lady, that you should min your eyes V 

" Yes, Hen- von Fink," returned Lenore firmly ; " it is, 
and it will be necessary." 

"Oh, hoi" cried Fink, shaking his liead, and comfort- 
ably leaning against the back of a chair. " Do you sup- 
pose then that I have not long ago remarked your secret 
campaigns with, needle and scissors '? and also your grave 



386 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



face, and the magnificent bearing you assume toward me, 
naughty boy that I am ? Where is the panther-sofa ? 
Where is the brotherly frankness that I have a right to 
expect after our understanding 1 You have kept very im- 
perfectly to our agreement. I see plainly that my good 
friend is inclined to give me up, and withdraw, with the 
best grace possible. But, permit me to remark, that this 
will hardly avail you. You will not get rid of me." 

" Be generous, Herr von Fink," cried Lenore in extreme 
excitement. "Do not make what I have to do, still 
harder. Yes, I am preparing to part from this place — to 
part from you." 

"You refuse then to remain with me?" said Fink, with 
a frowning brow. " Very well ; I shall return, and implore 
till I am heard. If you run away, I shall run after you ; 
and if you cut off' your beautiful hair, and fly to a convent, 
I'll leap the walls, and fetch you out. Have I not wooed 
you as the adventurer in the fairy tales does the king's 
daughter? To win you, proud Lenore, I have turned sand 
into grass, and transformed myself into a respectable far- 
mer. Therefore, beloved mistress, be reasonable, and do 
not torment me by maidenly caprices." 

"Oh! respect such caprices!" cried Lenore, bursting 
into tears. " In the solitude of these last weeks I have 
MTCstled hourly with my sorrow. I am a poor girl, whose 
duty it is to live for her afflicted parent. The dower that 
I should bring you would be sickness, gloom, and poverty ! " 

" You are mistaken," replied Fink earnestly. " Our 
friend has provided for you. He has hunted two rascals 
into the water — and has paid your father's debts. The 
Baron has a nice little fortune remaining ; and I can tell 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



387 



your perverse ladyship you are no bad match after all, if 
you lay any stress upon that. The letter you hold upsets 
all your philosophy." 

Lenore looked at the envelope, and threw the letter away. 

" No !" cried she, beside herself. " When, shattered by 
sorrow, I lay upon your breast, you then told me I was to 
get stronger. And every day I feel that when I come 
into contact with you, I have no strength, no opinion, no 
will of my own. Whatever you say appears to me right, 
and I forget how I thought before. What you require I 
must needs do, imresisting as a slave. The woman who 
goes through life at your side should be your equal in in- 
tellect and power, and should feel reliant in her own pro- 
vince. But I am an uncultivated, helpless girl. In my 
foolish love I let it appear that I could do for your sake 
what no woman should. You find nothing in me to 
respect. You would kiss me and — endure me !" Lenore's 
hand clenched, and her eyes flashed as she spoke. 

" Does it then repent you so much that for my sake you 
sent a bullet into that villain's shoulder?" said Fink. 
" What I now see looks less like love than hatred ! " 

" I hate you "?" cried the poor girl, hiding her face with 
her hands. 

He took her hands, drew her to him, and pressed a kiss 
upon her lips. " Trust me, Lenore !" 

" Leave me ! leave me ! " cried Lenore, struggling ; but 
her lips were pressed to his, and her arms twined around 
him ; and looking into his face with a passionate expression 
of love and fear, she gradually sank down at his feet. 

Thoroughly moved. Fink stooped and raised her. " Mine 
you are, and I hold you fast !" cried he. " With rifle and 



388 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



bullet I have bought your stormy heart. In the same 
breath you tell me sweet things and bitter ! What then ! 
am I such a despot that a noble-minded woman should 
fear to come under my yoke 1 Just as you are, Lenore 
— resolute, bold, a little passionate devil — ^just so I will 
have you remain. We have been companions in arms, 
and so we shall continue to be. The day may return 
when we shall both raise our guns to our cheeks, and the 
people about us need natures more disposed to give than to 
take a blow. Were you not my heart's desire, were you a 
man, I should like to have you for my life's companion I 
So, Lenore, you will be to me not only a beloved wife, but 
a courageous friend, the confidante of all my plans — my 
best and truest comrade." 

Lenore shook her head, but she climg to him firmly. 
" I ought to be your housewife," sighed she. 

Fink caressingly stroked back her hair, and kissed her 
burning brow. " Be content, sweet heart," said he tenderly, 
" and make up your mind to it. We have been together 
in a fire strong enough to bring love to maturity ; and 
we know each other thoroughly. Between oiu'selves, we 
shall have many a storm in our house. I am no easy- 
going companion, at least for a woman ; and you will very 
soon find that will of yours again, the loss of which you are 
now lamenting. Be at rest, darling, you shall be as head- 
strong as of yore ; you need not distress yourself on that 
account. So you may prepare for a few storms, but for 
hearty love and a merry life as well. I will have you 
laugh again, Lenore. You will have no need to make 
niy shirts ; and if you don't like account-keeping — why, 
let it alone. And if you do sometimes give your boys a 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



389 



box on the ear, it will do our brood no harm. I think you 
will give yourself to me 1" 

Lenore was silent, but she clung closer to his breast. 
Fink drew her away. " Come to our mother !" cried he. 

Both bent over the bed of the invalid. A brightness 
passed over the pale face of the Baroness, as she laid her 
hands on Fink's head, and gave him her blessing. 

" She is still a child," said she. It remains with you, 
my son, to make a good woman of her ! " 

She sent her children out of the room. " Go to your 
father ; bring him to me, and leave us alone together." 

WTien the Baron sat by the side of his wife, she di-ew 
his hand to her lips and whispered, " Let me thank you, 
Oscar, to-day, for many years of happiness — for all your 
love." 

" Poor wife !" murmured the blind man. 

" What you have done and suffered," continued the 
Baroness, " you have done and suffered for me and my 
son, and we both leave you behind in a joyless world. 
You were not to have the happiness of transferring an 
inheritance ; you are the last to bear the name of Roth- 
sattel." 

The Baron groaned. 

" But the reputation we leave behind will be spotless as 
was your whole life, till two hours of despair." She 
placed the bundle of notes-of-hand in the blind man's 
grasp, then having torn each one up, she rang the bell, 
and told the servant to put them piece by piece into the 
stove. The flames leaped up and threw a red light over 
the room, till the last was consumed. The evening closed 
in, and the Baron lay on the sick lady's bed, and hid his 



390 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



face in the pillows, while she held her hands folded over 
him, and her lips moved in prayer. 

In the early morning light the ravens and jackdaws 
fluttered over the snowy roof. Their black wings hovered 
awhile above the tower, then, with loud cries, they broke 
away to the wood to announce to their feathered race 
that the castle walls contained a bride and a corpse. 
The pale lady from a foreign land has died in the night, 
and the blind man who is lying in his daughter's arms 
has but one consolation, that of knowing that he shall 
soon follow her to her endless rest. And the ill-omened 
birds scream out to the winds that the old Slavonic curse 
has fallen on the castle, and the doom has lighted on 
the foreign settlers too. 

But little cares the man who now holds sway within 
the castle walls whether a raven croak or a lark sing, and 
if a curse lie on his property, he will laughingly blow it 
away. His life will be a ceaseless and successful conflict 
with the dark influences around, and from the Slavonic 
castle will come out a band of noble boys, and a new 
German race, strong and enduring in mind and body, 
will overspread the land — a race of colonists and con- 
querors. 

In a few cordial lines, Fink announced to his friend 
his own betrothal and the death of the Baroness. A 
sealed note to Sabine was enclosed in the envelope. 

It was evening when the postman brought the letter to 
Anton's room. Long did he sit pondering its contents ; at 
length he took up the note to Sabine, and hurried to the 
front part of the house. 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



391 



He found the merchant in his study, and gave him the 
letter. 

The merchant immediately called in Sabine. " Fink h 
betrothed — here is his announ(^ement." 

Sabine clasped her hands in delight, and was hurrying 
off' to Anton, but she stopped with a blush, took her note to 
the lamp and opened it. There could not have been much 
in it, for she read it in an instant ; and though she tried 
hard to look grave, could not suppress a smile. At another 
time Anton would have watched her mood with passionate 
interest — to-day he scarcely heeded it 

" You will spend the evening with us, dear Wohlfart 
said the merchant. 

Anton replied, " I was going to ask you to spare me a 
few moments. I have something to say to yo^i." He 
looked uneasily at Sabine. 

" Let her hear it. Remain, Sabine," said the merchant to 
his sister, who was just going to slip away ; " you are good 
friends ; Mr. Wohlfart will not object to your presence. 
Speak, my friend, what can I do for you 

Anton bit his lips and looked again at the beloved form 
that leant with downcast eyes against the door. " May I 
inquire, Mr. Schroter," he at length began, " whether you 
have found the situation for which you kindly promised to 
look out ? " 

Sabine moved uneasily, and the merchant looked up in 
amazement. ^' I believe I shall soon have something to 
off'er you, but is there any great hurry about it, dear 
Wohlfart?" 

" There is," replied Anton gravely. " T have not a day to 
lose. My relations to the Rothsattel family are now entirely 



392 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



closed, and the fearful events with which I have been 
connected, during the last weeks, have affected my health. 
I yearn for repose. Regular employment in some foreign 
city, where nothing will remind me of the past is, however, 
])ositively essential to me." 

Again Sabine moved, but a look from her brother kept 
her back. 

" And could you not find that repose which I too wish 
for you, here Avith us?" inquired the merchant. 

" No," replied Anton, in a faint voice ; I beg you noi 
to be offended if I leave" you to-day." 

" Leave us !" cried the merchant. " I see no reason 
for such haste. You can recruit here ; the ladies must 
take better care of you than hitherto. Wohlfart complains 
t)f you, Sabhie. He looks pale and worn. You and our 
cousin must not allow that." 

Sabine did not answer a word. 

"I must go, Mr. Schroter," said Anton, decidedly. 
" To-morrow I set oat." 

" And will you not at least tell your friends the reason 
of so hasty a departure f said the merchant gravely. 

" You know the reason. I have done vdih my past. 
Hitherto I have ill provided for my future ; for I am about to 
seek and win, in some subordinate situation, the confidence 
and good opinion of strangers. I have become, too, very 
poor in friends. I must separate for years from all I love. 
I have some cause to feel alone, and since I must needs 
l)egin life again, it is best to do so as soon as possible, 
for every day that I spend here is fraitless, and only makes 
my strength less, the necessaiy parting harder." He 
spoke ill deep emotion, his voice trembling, but he did not 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



lose his self-control. Then going np to Sabine, he took her 
hand. " In this last hour I tell you, in the presence of 
your brother, what it cannot oftend you to liear, for you 
have known it long. Parting from you pains me more than 
I can say. Farewell !" And now lie fairly Ijroke down, 
and turned to the window. 

After a pause the merchant said, " Yom- sudden de- 
parture, dear Wolilfart, will be inconvenient to my sister as 
well as to me. Sabine was anxious to request such a service 
from you as a merchant's sister is likely to require. I, too, 
wish very much that you should not refuse her. Sabine 
begs that you will look over some papers for her. It will 
be no great task." 

Anton turned, and made a deprecating gesture. 

" Before you decide, listen to a fact that you have pro- 
bably not known before," continued the merchant. " Ever 
since my father's death, Sabine has secretly been my part- 
ner ; and her advice and opinion has decided matters in our 
counting-house oftener than you think. She, too, has been 
your principal, dear Wohlfart." He made a sign to his 
sister, and left the room. 

Anton looked in amazement at the principal in white 
muslin, with black braided hair. For years, then, he had 
served and obeyed the youthful figure which now blush- 
ingly approached him. 

" Yes, Wohlfart," said Sabine timidly ; "I, too, have 
had a small hold upon your life. And how proud I was of 
it ! Even those Christmas-boxes you used to receive, I 
knew of them ; and it was my sugar and coffee that the little 
Anton drank. When your worthy father came to us and 
asked for a situation for you, it was I who persuaded my 



394 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



brother to take you. For Traiigott asked me about it, he 
himself objecting, and thinking you were too old. But I 
begged for you, and from that time my brother always 
called you my apprentice. It was I who promised your 
father to take care of you here. I was but an inex- 
perienced child myself, and the confidence of a stranger 
enchanted me. Your father, good old gentleman, would 
not wear, while with us, the velvet cap that peeped out 
of his pocket, till I drew it out and put it on his white 
curls ; and then I wondered whether my apprentice would 
have such beautiful curls too. And when you came, and 
all were pleased with you, and my brother pronounced you 
the best of all his clerks, I was as proud of you as your 
good father could have been." 

Anton leant on the desk, and hid his face with his 
hand. 

" And that day when Fink insulted you, and again after 
that boating excursion, I was angry with him, not only for 
his presumption, but because he had taken my true appren- 
tice into danger ; and because I always felt that you be- 
longed a little to me, I begged my brother to take you with 
him on that dangerous journey. It was for me too, Wohl- 
fart, that you toiled in that foreign land, and when you 
stood by the loaded wagons, amidst fire and clash of arms 
that fearful night, they were my goods that you were 
saving. And so, my friend, I come to you now in the 
character of a merchant, and pray you to do me a service ; 
you shall look over an account for me ?" 

" I will," said Anton, turning away ; " but not at this 
moment." 

Sabine went to a book-case, and laid out two books, with 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



395 



gilt leaves and green morocco binding, on the desk. Then 
taking Anton by the hand, she said in a trembling voice, 
" Please come and look at my Debit and Credit." She 
opened the first volume. Beneath all manner of skilful 
flourishes, stood the words, " With God — Private Ledger 
of T. 0. Schroter." 

Anton started back. " It is the private book of the 
firm," cried he. " This is a mistake." 

" It is no mistake," said Sabine. " I want you to look 
over it." 

" Impossible !" cried Anton. " Neither you nor your 
brother can seriously wish this. God forbid that any one 
should venture to do so but the heads of the concern. So 
long as a firm lasts, these pages are for no human eyes but 
those of its head, and after that of the next heir. He who 
reads this book, knows what no stranger should ; nay, 
as far as this book goes, the most intimate friend is a 
stranger. Neither as merchant nor as upright man can I 
comply with your wish." 

Sabine held his hand fast. " But do look at it, Wohl- 
fart ; look at least at its title." She pointed out its cover. 
" Here you have T. 0. Schroter." Then turning over the 
pages, " There are few empty columns here ; the book ends 
with the last year." Then opening the second volume, she 
said, " This book is empty, but here we find another firm ; 
look at least at its title." 

Anton read, "With God — Private Ledger of T. 0, 
Schroter and Company." 

Sabine pressed his hand, and said gently, and as with 
entreaty, " And you are to be the new partner, my friend." 

Anton stood motionless ; but his heart beat wildly, and 



306 



DEBIT AND CREDIT, 



his face flushed up brightly. Sabiue still held his hand ; 
he saw her face near his, and light as a breath, her lips 
touched his. He flung his arms around her, and the two 
happy lovers were clasped in speechless embrace. 

The door opened, and the merchant appeared. " Hold 
fast the runaway!" cried he. "Yes, Anton, I have 
wished this for years. Since that time when you knelt by 
my bed, and bound up my wound in a foreign land, I have 
(cherished the hope of uniting you for ever to our life. 
When you left us, I was angry at seeing my hope baffled. 
Now then, enthusiast, we have you safe, safe in our private 
book, and in our arms." He drew the lovers to him. 

" You have chosen a poor partner," cried Anton on his 
new brother's breast. 

" Not so, my brother. Sabine has shown herself a 
judicious merchant. Neither wealth nor position have any 
value for the individual or the community, without the 
healthy energy which keeps the dead metal in life-producing 
action. You bring into the business the courage of youth, 
and the wisdom of experience. Welcome to our house 
and to our hearts ! " 

Radiant with joy, Sabine held both the hands of her 
betrothed : "I have been hardly able to bear seeing you so 
silent and so sad. Every day when you rose from the 
dinner-table, I used to feel that I must fly after you, and 
tell you before that you belonged to us. You blind one, you 
never found out what was passing within me, and Lenore's 
betrothed has known it all !" 

"He!" exclaimed Anton. "I never spoke of you to 
him." 

" Look here !" cried Sabine, taking Fink's note from her 



DEBIT AND CREDIT. 



pocket. There was nothing in it but the words : " Hearty 
friendship, best Avishes, Mrs. Sister-in-hiw." 

Again Anton caught his beloved in his arms. 

Deck thyself out, old house ! rejoice, discreet cousin I 
dance, ye friendly house- sprites on the shadowy floor ! The 
poetic dreams that the boy Anton nursed in his early 
home, beneath the prayers for blessings of his worthy 
parents, were honourable dreams ; and here is their fulfil- 
ment. That which allured and unsettled, and diverted liim 
from his life-purpose, he has with manly heart overcome. 

The old diary of his life is at an end, and henceforth, ye 
gracious house-sprites, in your private book, will be in- 
scribed : " With God, his future career of Debit and 
Credit." 



THE EMI). 



RDI.NEDROH 



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